Report: Action for victim-survivors of sexual violence
The Queensland Government today released its response to the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce report Hear her voice – Report Two – Women and girls experiences across the criminal justice system.
The Taskforce’s report has shone a light on the experiences of victim-survivors of sexual violence and women and girls in the criminal justice system in our state.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said announced an additional $225 million over five years to support implementation of the recommendations made in Report Two.
“This is the next stage of reforms our government is implementing to tackle domestic and family violence,” the Premier said.
“We’ve invested nearly $1 billion on reforms and initiatives tackling domestic and family violence since 2015 including $363 million announced earlier this year to implement Hear her voice – Report One.
“We know that women face barriers when reporting against domestic, family and sexual violence and how these matters are dealt with is not always up to community standards.
“And we know the experience in our criminal justice system is different for women than it is for men.
“This reform package places victim-survivors at the centre of how we respond to sexual violence.
“We have heard, we have listened, and we are acting.”
Attorney General Shannon Fentiman said the Queensland Government continues to support the sexual violence sector to do their essential work.
“That is why we have prioritised funding to meet immediate need,” Minister Fentiman said.
“We will establish a Victims’ Commission in Queensland, a key recommendation of the Taskforce, and we will develop a statewide victims advocate service, piloted in two locations initially.
“We will deliver a system where women and girls can safely report harm and seek support through trauma-informed services, and also fund court IT upgrades to make it easier for victims giving video evidence.”
The $225 million package of reforms includes funding for:
- The Townsville Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) and expanding the model in two new locations
- Court IT upgrades in 81 locations to make it easier for victims to give video evidence
- The establishment of a Victims’ Commission
- The Queensland Sexual Assault Network (QSAN)
- A community education campaign to improve awareness and understanding about sexual violence, including consent
- The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
- Adult restorative justice services for adult sexual and DFV offences and a staged expansion
- Piloting a victims’ advocate service in key locations and developing the most appropriate model for a statewide victim advocate service
- Development and implementation of a whole-of-government strategy for women and girls in the criminal justice system as accused persons and offenders
- Strengthening the Murri Court model
- Additional early bail support program services in Northern and Central Queensland, based on the existing models in Brisbane
- Legal advice and assistance to women in custody
- A pilot of a voluntary case conferencing model in sexual violence cases in the District Court of Queensland
- Case management to support the ongoing operation of a specialist list for sexual violence cases across all District Court registries
- A pilot expert evidence panel for sexual offence proceedings in Queensland in two court locations
- Expanding court advisory services across Queensland to support sentencing courts with greater availability of pre-sentence advice
- Improved health, wellbeing, prenatal and postnatal care and birth experiences in prison and detention
- Rehabilitation support for women in prison and girls in detention
- Additional services for women and girls to support them to reintegrate in their community, including housing support.
“The Queensland Government will also progress amendments to move to an affirmative model of consent, which will better reflect community expectations of equality and mutual respect in sexual relationships and drive changes in the way sexual offences are prosecuted and defended,” Minister Fentiman said.
“Additionally, we will introduce legislative amendments to recognise ‘stealthing’ as rape.”
“This reform package builds on the work being delivered under Prevent. Support. Believe: Queensland’s Framework to address sexual violence.
“I want to thank the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce for its ground-breaking work and the brave women and girls who shared their stories.
For more information about the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce, visit www.womenstaskforce.qld.gov.au.