Improving the Response of the Justice System to Sexual Offences

Project Status:

Tabled in parliament

Start Date:

01/04/2020

Tabled in Parliament Date:

12/11/2021

Reference

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.

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Project Stage

  • Terms of reference received
  • Submissions and consultations
  • Submissions closed
  • Final Report
  • Tabled in parliament

Publications

Publication Date

16/11/2021

The Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) has proposed a comprehensive reform package to improve the way the justice system responds to sexual offences. 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… Read more
Publication Date

12/11/2021

The Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) has proposed a comprehensive reform package to improve the way the justice system responds to sexual offences. 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… Read more
Publication Date

16/11/2021

The Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) has proposed a comprehensive reform package to improve the way the justice system responds to sexual offences. 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… Read more
Publication Date

06/04/2022

This supplementary report was tabled in Parliament on 6 April 2022. Read more
Publication Date

06/04/2022

This supplementary report on ‘grab and drag’ offences was tabled in Parliament on 6 April 2022. Read more
Publication Date

06/04/2022

This supplementary report on ‘grab and drag’ offences was tabled in Parliament on 6 April 2022. Read more
Publication Date

30/03/2021

The Commission has received the following submissions to its review of Improving the Response of the Justice System to Sexual Offences. Read More
Publication Date

05/10/2020

Submissions to this inquiry and the public consultation phase have closed. The issues papers are available as pdfs, a Word file and html web pages. Read More
Publication Date

01/04/2020

The Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) is asked to review and report on Victoria’s laws relating to rape, sexual assault and associated adult and child sexual offences (sexual offences). The review should identify opportunities to embed and build upon previous reforms, identify the barriers to reporting and resolving sexual offences,… Read More
Publication Date

01/04/2021

A summary of anonymous responses received from people who have experienced sexual assault and their engagement with the justice system. Read more
Publication Date

01/04/2021

A summary of anonymous responses received from people who have experienced sexual assault and their engagement with the justice system. Read more
Publication Date

26/11/2020

On 26 November 2020 the former Attorney-General, the Hon. Jill Hennessy MP, also asked the Commission to consider if there should be a ‘grab and drag’ offence. Read more