Greens welcome long awaited sexual violence justice review


Lines attributable to Greens leader in the Senate and spokesperson on women Senator Larissa Waters

“The Greens welcome Labor’s long awaited announcement today for an Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) inquiry into how the justice system handles sexual violence.

“The government doesn’t have to wait for the ALRC to work with the states to deliver the funding needed for sexual violence support services across the country.

“Many victim-survivors of sexual, family and domestic violence describe the court process as horrific and retraumatising.

“Over the past 18 months in particular we have seen high profile cases played out in court, with intense media coverage, and the impact those proceedings can cause for those individuals and all victim-survivors.

“We know that an alarming number of people still disbelieve or victim-blame survivors of sexual violence. Partially because of this, almost 9 in 10 incidents of sexual assault nationally are not reported to the police.

“Work on prevention should mean addressing rape culture, through well funded and expert delivered consent and Respectful Relationships education in schools.

“So far we’ve seen commitments from some state governments to strengthen the legal definitions of consent, and to make stealthing an offence. These are good steps forward, but we need to harmonise the laws to ensure everyone understands that only informed and enthusiastic consent means yes.

“I salute the strength of anyone who seeks justice through the courts for sexual violence, as it is often retraumatising and horrific for all victim-survivors of gendered violence.

“To change the unacceptable rates of sexual violence and end Australia’s culture of sexual violence, harassment and abuse, we need to support victims to come forward, and dismantle the power imbalances and gender stereotypes that deter them from doing so.

“It will be important to survivors that any ALRC recommendations are taken seriously and implemented promptly, they have waited long enough for a justice system that actually delivers justice for sexual violence survivors.

“We look forward to working with the government to identify problems with criminal justice responses to sexual violence and strengthen trauma-informed approaches and wrap-around services.”