Urgent reforms to enable sexual abuse survivors to tell their stories

Urgent reforms to enable sexual abuse survivors to tell their stories

The Victorian Government has announced they will be fast-tracking changes to the Judicial Proceedings Reports Act to make it easier for survivors of sexual abuse to speak out.

Currently in Victoria, if legal proceedings are on foot, it is unlawful to publish information that identifies a survivor of sexual abuse unless a court grants permission.

Although this law was intended to protect the privacy of sexual abuse survivors, it also restricts their ability to openly tell their stories.

In early August, the Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) published a report on the topic recommending that adult survivors of sexual abuse should be able to consent to their identities being published at any stage of the legal process, without having to first seek permission from a court.

Kirsty Osborne, Associate at Adviceline Injury Lawyers, agrees with the VLRC's recommendation and says, sexual abuse survivors have suffered in silence for too long and it is critical that the laws which aim to protect them do not continue to supress their voices.

The Government plans to hold roundtable discussions with survivors and support groups in September to develop the proposed changes, which will be introduced to Parliament this year.

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