Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Sexual Assault Data

My question is for the Attorney-General. The Victorian Law Reform Commission’s (VLRC) recent report Improving the Justice System Response to Sexual Offences, which was tabled last sitting week, is very much welcomed. As I said in my statement on the report, we have previously suggested about half of the recommendations outlined. Some of these include stealthing—on which I had coincidently drafted an amendment to introduce last sitting week—public education, expanding victims rights, funding more multidisciplinary centres and funding for a victims legal service. It also recommended an online sexual assault reporting option in chapter 7, both through sexual assault support services such as centres against sexual assault and also through Victoria Police. Attorney, in a recent response to a question from me in this place about informal online reporting, you said, and I quote: The government will be guided by the recommendations in the VLRC’s report to ensure that reporting options are informed by the needs of affected Victorians. Attorney, given the VLRC report, will you implement an informal reporting option for sexual offences and under what time line?

I look forward to that. Recommendation 14 of the VLRC report says that government should: identify key gaps in data, research and evaluation on the experiences of and responses to sexual violence and develop measures to address these gaps It further states under this recommendation that the ‘modernisation of data systems for key agencies’ should be funded. Interestingly just over 12 months ago we all debated a motion I put forward about data collection for sexual assaults. It called on the government to create a database of victims’ experiences and complaints when pursuing sexual offending charges and asked the government to investigate our low rates of reporting and high rates of attrition. I said at the time, ‘You do not know what you cannot find’. Unfortunately our motion was not supported by the government and some members of the crossbench. Attorney, will the government now implement recommendation 14, which asks the government to identify gaps in sexual assault data and fund a modernised system for data collection?


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