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SASVic response to Victims of Crime Commissioner Report: Report welcomed but the system isn’t going to fix itself

Sexual Assault Services Victoria 2 mins read

The Victims of Crime Commissioner report, Silenced and sidelined: Systemic inquiry into victim participation in the justice system was released, 18 March 2024. 

SASVic, the peak body for Victoria's 18 sexual assault and harmful sexual behaviour services, welcomes the report but is unsurprised by its findings. 

Specialist sexual assault services in Victoria contributed to the systemic inquiry, identifying that in Victoria, limited change has been made to the way that victims of sexual violence are treated in our justice system.

Victoria urgently needs meaningful reform, including the overdue delivery of the government's Sexual Violence Strategy, and Justice Navigators

“We know that the justice system still fails those impacted by sexual violence”, says Chair of SASVic Board, Kate Wright. “Too often the burden falls on those harmed to navigate a complex and punitive system that compounds trauma and makes recovery more difficult. Urgent reforms are long overdue.” 

Report recommendations 

"SASVic warmly supports the report's findings but, the legal system isn't going to fix itself." 

It is unrealistic to rely on the legal system and legal services to ‘fix themselves'. Too many inquiries have recommended this already. Survivors of sexual violence and their advocates, including specialist sexual assault services, must lead the way in implementing these recommendations if we are to see real change. 

SASVic is calling for resourcing to improve experiences of the justice system, including an initial investment of $1.5m over the next two years for the development of dedicated and ongoing 'Justice Navigator' roles embedded into specialist sexual assault services across Victoria.  

Justice Navigators would assist survivors to understand and exercise their rights in relation to the justice system and help them navigate the various support, compensation and recovery options available to them. 

"We see almost 20,000 people impacted by sexual violence every year so nobody better understands the experiences of survivors of sexual violence in Victoria.” 

Education and training on sexual violence 

SASVic is calling for funding for our sector to develop and deliver education and training to sexual violence for police, lawyers, judges and magistrates.' This training needs to come from independent, external experts such as sexual assault services.    

Calling for systemic change 

This report confirms again that urgent reform is needed to improve victims’ experiences of the legal system. We know what's needed to address sexual violence but we need a commitment from the Victorian government to deliver transformative change. 

"The government promised in 2021 to deliver a Victorian Sexual Violence Strategy by 2022. It's now 2024. Without a strategy, Victoria is failing victims of sexual assault."  


About us:

 

About SASVic 

Sexual Assault Services Victoria (SASVic) is the peak body for Victoria's 18 specialist sexual assault and harmful sexual behaviour services in Victoria. Our members provide support to 20,000 survivors and young people a year. Together, we work to promote rights, recovery and respect for victim survivors and other people impacted by sexual violence and harm. We seek to achieve this by working collectively to change the attitudes, systems and structures that enable sexual violence to occur. 


Contact details:

SASVic Board Chair Kate Wright is available for comment via Brett de Hoedt of Hootville Communications: 0414 713 802. 

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