Why isn't the government doing more to support sexual assault victims?

The NSW Government continues to fail victim-survivors of sexual assault. Today in Parliament, Abigail gave notice of a motion calling on the Attorney General to require the DCJ to urgently review the entire justice system's handling of sexual assault cases.

Abigail gave notice of the following motion:

I give notice that on the next sitting day I will move: 

(1) That this House notes the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s recent announcement that it will review every sexual assault case committed for trial;

(2) That this House further notes that: 

  • victim-survivors and peak advocacy groups have long been calling on the Government to take action to reform the entire justice system, particularly in relation to police handling of sexual assault cases, including evidence collecting and recording; 
  • there are significant gaps and failures in the NSW justice system in relation to handling of sexual assault cases, which have been highlighted by victim-survivors, advocacy groups, legal professionals, the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) and more, with conviction rates in NSW extraordinarily low compared to other jurisdictions and victims reportedly waiting inordinate amounts of time for a case to make it to trial; and 
  • according to BOCSAR statistics:
    • only half of sexual assault defendants are convicted, with less than a quarter proceeding to trial and an unknown number of cases going entirely unreported, and 
    • only 16 percent of victims contact police after experiencing sexual assault, largely due to an awareness of unfair and traumatising complainant treatment in courts. 

(3) That this House calls on the Attorney General to require the NSW Department of Communities and Justice to urgently conduct a whole of system review of the NSW justice system in relation to handling of sexual assault cases at all stages of the justice system, to ensure victim-survivors are able to achieve justice. 

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