Media Release: Greens call for whole of system review of handling of sexual assault cases

7 March 2024

The Greens are calling for a whole of system review of the NSW Justice system’s handing of sexual assault cases.

In the wake of the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions announced review of every sexual assault case committed for trial, following criticism from some judges of the merit of some cases, the Greens have called for the NSW Department of Communities and Justice to order a review into the entire life-cycle of a sexual assault case to understand exactly where victim survivors are being let down.

 

Quotes attributable to Abigail Boyd, Greens NSW Spokesperson for Gendered Violence and Abuse:

“We shouldn’t be asking why the DPP is bringing forward these cases, we should be asking why police are failing to collect appropriate evidence, why our legal system is demanding such an unreasonably high burden of proof, why do we have so many cases where the decision is made not to proceed to prosecution.

“For far too long we’ve had a justice system that is fundamentally flawed in terms of providing justice for victims. 

“It sounds to me like the Director of Public Prosecutions is the only one in the NSW Justice system who has been paying attention these last few years and is genuinely believing the stories of victim survivors and is pursuing justice on their behalf.

“These bad faith criticisms from conservative political elements are the last gasps of a previous age where women’s bodily autonomy was up for debate.

“The previous government made important steps forward in terms of advancing consent laws -  it’s time for the new NSW Attorney General to take leadership on this issue, stand up for his DPP, and announce a broader systemic review to investigate why we are delivering such a low conviction rate for sexual assault cases. The idea that it’s just one sector of the justice system where victim survivors are being let down is a total furphy, and the discouragement of bringing cases isn’t the answer.

“We know police aren’t collecting sufficient evidence and we know all of the systemic barriers that prevent victim survivors from achieving justice, but we don’t even know the reasons why prosecutions don’t go ahead in sexual assault cases because our antiquated police computer system can’t show us the reasons for why cases don’t proceed, unlike every other Australian jurisdiction.

“It’s time for the NSW Labor Government to get serious about this issue and stand up for victim survivors.

 

ENDS

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