A SEXUAL assault of a middle-aged woman by a skinny, long-haired boy on a footpath in Wangaratta would leave all women in the city feeling unsafe, an anti-violence advocate said yesterday.
The woman was assaulted walking along Murdoch Road, near the intersection of Hardisty Street, about 6pm on Tuesday.
A brown-haired teenager, believed to be aged 14 or 15 and carrying a Jack Russell terrier, struck up a conversation with the woman before indecently assaulting her.
Chief executive of the Wangaratta-based agency Centre Against Violence, Kerry Burns, said it was as brazen as unusual.
“It’s unusual in that it happened in a public space, on a busy road and was generated by a young person,” she said.
“She has been violated and it will have an impact on her and all women in the community.”
“Women have the right to feel safe in their community.”
Ms Burns urged anybody with information to contact police.
“You can’t protect this person by doing nothing and not reporting it,” she said.
“The safety of this victim is paramount.
“This offender needs an urgent response from the police and justice system so that the safety of the community is protected.”
Detective Senior Constable Peter Evans, of the Wangaratta sex offences unit, said police were treating the attack as an isolated incident.
“The offender approached the woman from behind and struck up a conversation,” he said.
“The male then indecently assaulted the woman who screamed, pushed him away and ran north along Murdoch Road.
“The offender ran off in the opposite direction, south along Murdoch Road.”
The offender has been described as between 170-175 centimetres tall, with brown shoulder-length hair and a thin build.
He has an olive complexion.
Senior Constable Evans said the incident happened along a busy road and he hoped someone would have information to help the case.
“It’s a concern but at the same time it seems to have been spur of the moment,” he said.
The incident comes after another sexual assault in Murdoch Road in February.
Victims of sexual assault who need support can call 1800 806 292 for assistance.