Improving the Response of the Justice System to Sexual Offences
Tabled in Parliament Date:
The Victorian Law Reform Commission has completed its report on Victoria’s response to sexual offences, including rape and associated adult and child sexual offences. The report was released on 12 November 2021. Download it here.
Improving the Justice System Response to Sexual Offences, published on 12 November 2021, is the result of a major inquiry taking 18 months, involving 99 consultations and attracting 71 submissions. This report makes 91 recommendations across all parts of the system.
Major recommendations include:
- The time has come for restorative justice and other alternatives to the criminal trial to become a mainstream option in sexual offence cases.
- Victims should not feel alone. They need support every step of the way from a ‘victim advocate’ who walks with victims on their path through the justice system, providing counselling, emotional support, advice and advocacy.
- Victoria needs a stronger model of affirmative consent.
- A world-first Commission for Sexual Safety should be established in Victoria.
- Criminal trials should be less traumatic for victim survivors. Everyone who works on sexual offence matters, including judges, magistrates and barristers, should be specialists. Juries need better directions from the judge about rape myths, and more access to expert witnesses.
- There should be an enforceable duty on employers and others, such as universities, to eliminate sexual violence and harassment.
- We need stronger laws on stealthing and image-based abuse.
- Reporting sexual violence should be easier and there should be more options.
‘Grab and drag’ laws
The Commission delivered its additional report on the proposed new ‘Grab and drag’ offence in December 2021. It was tabled in Parliament and published on 6 April 2022.
On 12 November 2021 the Victorian Government announced that it would overhaul the ways sexual offences are reported and dealt with in Victoria in response to the VLRC’s recommendations, including by introducing an affirmative consent model and criminalising stealthing and image-based abuse. Several other recommendations have been implemented. Find out more about implementation.
VCE legal studies students wanting to learn about this inquiry, go to our Case studies page.
- Terms of reference received
- Submissions and consultations
- Submissions closed
- Final Report
- Tabled in parliament
Improving the Justice System Response to Sexual Offences: Supplementary Report on 'Grab and Drag' Conduct (html)
Improving the Justice System Reponse to Sexual Offences: Supplementary Report on 'Grab and Drag' conduct (pdf)
Improving the Justice System Reponse to Sexual Offences: Supplementary Report on 'Grab and Drag' conduct (Word)