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The Victims of Sexual Violence (Strengthening Legal Protections) Legislation Bill takes important steps towards reducing the harms experienced by victims of sexual violence participating in court proceedings.
The Bill is one of three recent bills related to family violence and sexual violence.
The Bill has two main purposes. It seeks to amend:
- The Crimes Act 1961 – the amendments seek to reduce the risk of child victims of sexual violence being questioned about consent to sexual activity in court.
- The Criminal Procedure Act 2011 – the amendments seek to clarify the law so that automatic name suppression settings both protect complainants’ privacy and support complainants’ autonomy. The amendments do this by clarifying the purpose of relevant provisions and requiring the court to consider victims' views about name suppression in sexual violence cases.
As a part of our pro bono programme, Chapman Tripp are the legal advisors to certain survivors of serious sexual offending, including in connection with name suppression matters.
We provided a submission on this Bill to the Justice Committee in the context of our experience with work of this nature. Chapman Tripp strongly supports the Bill – confirming our support for the Bill was the primary purpose of our submission and we also suggested some technical improvements to the mechanism for dealing with name suppression matters.
Where to from here?
The Bill is currently at the select committee stage with the Justice Committee’s report due by 29 February 2024.