Skip to content
Government VIC, Women

Sexual Assault Services Victoria (SASVic), the peak body for Victoria’s specialist sexual assault sector, welcomes the introduction of Justice Navigators as part of the government’s new funding package

Sexual Assault Services Victoria 3 mins read

SASVic and its members welcome what could be a life-changing program for survivors of sexual violence after months of concerted advocacy. We are delighted by the Victorian Government's commitment to introduce Justice Navigators in Victoria as part of its Changing Laws and Culture to Save Women's Lives funding package.

What is a Justice Navigator?

Kathleen Maltzahn, SASVic CEO, says, "For survivors who engage with the justice system, the experience can be confronting and disempowering, making recovery more difficult. It's clear that the burden should not be on survivors to navigate our complex and punitive system."

Justice Navigators support survivors to understand and exercise their rights and help them navigate the complex range of support, compensation, recovery and justice options available to them, including by attending court and hearings. They will provide ongoing support to survivors that isn't tied to any one legal pathway or outcome.

This service would be free to survivors.

Do they work?

Yes. They reduce the trauma and confusion that is synonymous with the legal and court system.

Kathleen Maltzahn says, "Survivors in England and Wales have had access to this support, called Independent Sexual Violence Advocates (ISVAs), since 2007 and they have been successful. Research shows that ISVAs halved the number of survivors who dropped out of legal procedures. They could be life-changing in Victoria."

In the UK, ISVAs provide holistic wraparound support for survivors of sexual violence and vital assistance with navigating the systems and processes survivors come into contact with, whether that be within the justice system or not.

What would make Justice Navigators successful in Victoria?

Justice Navigators are best deployed within sexual assault services.

UK expert Ellie Ball, ISVA Manager, Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre, says, "Being based in specialist sexual violence organisations such as Rape Crisis, ISVAs are able to work in a trauma informed way, drawing on a wealth of knowledge and advice, which builds trust, and are able to link survivors in with other services to assist their recovery, such as counselling and therapeutic support. 

"Unfortunately, we know that when survivors come forward to report their experiences, their rights are too often overlooked and neglected by criminal justice agencies. ISVAs demand procedural fairness and accountability on behalf of their clients, and play an important role in ensuring survivors feel able to engage with justice systems that can be both hostile and re-traumatising."

SASVic has advised the government that for Justice Navigators to be successful, they should be embedded in each of the 18 specialist sexual assault services in Victoria, with adequate time for development.

In its 2024-25 budget bid, SASVic also advised that to introduce Justice Navigators, it would cost $1.5 million for development, $5.85 million for the first year of implementation and ongoing funding to ensure that they are available to survivors through all support, recovery, justice and compensation pathways. For example, sexual violence investigations and court cases can be lengthy; the 2021 VLRC Report tells us that court cases can often take up to 2 years to complete but Justice Navigator support should be available from the moment they make the courageous decision to share what happened to them with a specialist sexual assault service.

This is a modest amount for a significant gain. Secure and ongoing funding is vital.

What else do we need to address sexual violence?

We're also pleased to see that there will be more funding for therapeutic support to children and young people as part of the new package. Early intervention and support is crucial and no child survivor of sexual violence should have to wait for specialist therapeutic support. It's essential that some of this funding goes to specialist sexual assault services working with children and young people.

Our members see nearly 20,000 victim survivors annually, yet this is the tip of the iceberg. While the announcements this week are encouraging, SASVic will continue to push for secure funding for our 18 member services and the long-awaited sexual violence strategy to deliver the transformative system reform needed to end sexual violence. The lack of new funding for frontline sexual and family violence workers was a striking omission in the package.


About us:

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.

https://www.sasvic.org.au/


Contact details:

SASVic CEO, Kathleen Maltzahn, is available for comment via Brett de Hoedt of Hootville Communications. 0414 713 802/brett@hootvile.com

Independent Sexual Violence Advocate Manager, Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre, Ellie Ball is available for interview via Brett de Hoedt of Hootville Communications. 0414 713 802/brett@hootvile.com

More from this category

  • Political, Women
  • 19/06/2024
  • 12:51
Queensland Unions + The McKell Institute SA/NT

Queensland Unions: LNP Views of Women Antiquated, Unsupported

Queensland Unions, the peak body representing 400,000 Queensland workers, says Liberal Senator Hollie Hughes’ comments yesterday that employers would be ‘reluctant to hire or promote women’ if they’re afforded paid reproductive health leave contradict research and regress women’s fight for gender equality. Breaking research released today by the McKell Institute into paid reproductive health leave supports the union’s call for an extension of reproductive leave as a minimum national employment standard for working people of all genders. Jacqueline King, General Secretary Queensland Unions said in the fight for gender equality, improved workplace productivity and participation and work/life balance, leave which…

  • Business Company News, Women
  • 19/06/2024
  • 11:30
Jane Morgan Management

Women’s health focussed med-tech HeraMED Limited Announces Record Number of Active Users on HeraCARE Platform

SYDNEY, Australia – 19 June 2024 – HeraMED Limited (ASX: HMD) (‘HeraMED’ or the ‘Company’), a leading medical data and technology company transforming maternity care, is thrilled to announce a significant milestone for its innovative HeraCARE platform. As of 15 June 2024, the platform has reached a record number of accumulated users, totaling 3,533 registered mums, reflecting a 12% sequential growth since 31 March 2024. The number of active users also saw a notable increase, with 560 active mums currently using the platform, surpassing the previous record of 517 active users as of 21 July 2022. This growth is largely…

  • Contains:
  • CharitiesAidWelfare, Women
  • 19/06/2024
  • 10:07
UNSW Sydney Business School

Australia’s tax system is being weaponised by perpetrators of domestic abuse – it must stop

Academics fromUNSW Sydney Business School and the UNSW Gendered Violence Research Network have developed a set of recommendations to assist the federal government with reforms to make Australia’s tax system less vulnerable to weaponisation by abusers. The Australian Tax Office is frequently being implicated in situations where abusive partners deliberately put company tax debts in the name of their current or ex-partners, leaving them to carry them.Long after the victim survivors have escaped the relationship they discover they have been saddled with tax debts for companies they did not even know they were signatories to.The ATO is pursuing debts from…

  • Contains:

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.