Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Sexual Assault Data

My question is to the Attorney-General. The Sentencing Advisory Council’s comprehensive report handed down this week outlined the trends in sentencing for sex offenders between 2010 and 2019. According to the SAC, a striking result emerges between the number of reports and the number of convictions. For example, rape was recorded 23 000 times, yet it only had around 1000 offenders sentenced, around a 4 per cent conviction rate. These results would indicate that as a victim of crime it would not make you feel very confident to continue going through the arduous court process. There is a clear problem here in that we do not understand the reasons for attrition or the high withdrawal of sexual assault reports. Attorney, why does Victoria not record this data so we can actually address the undisclosed issues with sexual offence reporting and conviction?

Thanks, Attorney. I agree that sentences have increased, but unfortunately conviction rates remain low. Attorney, not too long ago I stood in this place with a motion asking for more data collection as it is impossible to determine responses to underreporting without the centralised recording of reasons for the withdrawal of sexual assault cases. As you know, the government voted against this motion, as did the Reason Party, the Animal Justice Party and the Greens, and was marginally defeated. Yet this call is being continued by a multitude of other people, including the Sentencing Advisory Council, the victims of crime commissioner and many victims of crimes themselves. The SAC this week said the reasons for the disparity between reporting and conviction were beyond their scope but certainly warranted further investigation. Therefore my supplementary question is: Attorney, will the government commit to the SAC recommendation of commencing further investigation into this disparity between reporting and conviction and start collecting the data?


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