Victims of sexual crimes will benefit from proposals to shake up justice system
Friday, 12 November 2021
Victims of sexual crimes stand to benefit from proposed reforms outlined in today’s report from the Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC).
“It’s an excellent report that the Victorian Government should fully implement. The reforms would make a world of difference to the experiences of victims of sexual offences and in reality, would also benefit other victims of crime. I welcome the recommendations and the proposed roadmap for reform”, Victims of Crime Commissioner Fiona McCormack said.
“The justice system is failing victims of sexual offences and the VLRC has detailed how the system is under strain and causes harm to victims.
“The report highlights that victims of sexual offences need to be at the centre of the justice system.
“It is obvious the VLRC has really listened to the voices of victims and closely considered the critical changes to laws, practices and culture necessary to improve their experiences. Changing the culture of our justice system is definitely needed to overcome myths about sexual offending and improve victims’ experiences. The VLRC report offers a pathway to achieve this.
“I urge the Government to prioritise investment in fully implementing the VLRC’s recommended reforms to improve victims’ experiences, including:
- new and diverse pathways to increase reports of sexual violence
- dedicated victim advocates to provide victims with a single point of contact through the criminal justice process and their recovery journey
- a publicly-funded legal service for victims of crime that provides separate, independent legal representation at critical points in the justice process
- an ‘affirmative consent’ model.
“Courts are backlogged, police and victims’ services are overworked and under-resourced, highlighting the need for investment.”
“I support VLRC recommendations for improved accountability to strengthen victims’ rights and ensure victims are treated with dignity and respect by the justice system,” the Commissioner said.
“I look forward to discussions with Government to strengthen the Victims’ Charter to ensure victims of sexual offences can get the justice they deserve.”
Read the Commissioner’s submission to the VLRC Inquiry into Sexual Offences.