Affirmative consent reform a welcome move for victims
Thursday, 4 August 2022
Victims of Crime Commissioner Fiona McCormack said:
“I want to congratulate the Victorian Government for its decision to legislate for affirmative consent today, along with introducing other key reforms to better protect victim-survivors. This is such welcome news for victim-survivors of sexual assault.
“Too often, we see the justice system stacked against the victim and that’s how consent has been operating in Victoria.
“Last year I joined other voices calling on the State Government to legislate for affirmative consent and I’m so pleased to see that action has been taken.
“Hopefully this legislation will translate not only to better justice outcomes for victims of sexual assault but also provide an opportunity for a broader conversation in the community about the nature of respectful sexual relationships.
“I look forward to reading the full details of the Justice Legislation Amendment (Sexual Offences and Other Matters) Bill 2022 and I trust the Bill will give victims the protection they deserve from the law. I welcome the Government’s move to accompany this law reform with a community education campaign. I also urge the Government to invest in training and education for those in our justice system who play a vital role in securing justice for victims of crime to ensure these reforms benefit victim-survivors.
“While affirmative consent and other reforms in the Bill are vital and major reforms for Victoria, it is only the first step in what I hope will be a comprehensive implementation of the Victorian Law Reform Commission’s sexual offences report which made 91 recommendations to improve the justice system response to sexual offences.
“Major reforms are still desperately needed to ensure victims have alternative reporting options; the right to an independent review of certain decisions made by police and prosecution; access to a publicly funded legal service; and access to dedicated victim advocates that provide them with a single point of contact throughout the criminal justice process.”