AIJA releases report on sexual assault proceedings

The report aims to enhance the criminal legal system's approach to such cases

AIJA releases report on sexual assault proceedings

The Australian Institute of Judicial Administration Inc. (AIJA) has released a comprehensive report on managing sexual assault proceedings.

The report was commissioned by the AIJA and Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department as part of a joint research project between the AIJA, Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department, CQUniversity College of Law and Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research (QCDFVR) to advance the Standing Council of Attorneys-General Work Plan to Strengthen Criminal Justice Responses to Sexual Assault 2022-2027.

Dr Amanda-Jane George, Dr Vicki Lowik, Dr Masahiro Suziki, and Dr Nichola Corbett-Jarvis authored the report titled Specialist Approaches to Managing Sexual Assault Proceedings: An Integrative Review. Associate professor Heather Lovatt provided advisory assistance. The report sought to address the ongoing issue of sexual violence in Australia and its traumatic repercussions.

The report highlighted two significant concerns. First are the barriers faced by survivors in reporting sexual assault. Second is the potential re-traumatisation within the criminal legal system. The authors presented the current evidence on these matters through an integrative review and suggested best practice measures for a specialised approach.

The report aims to ensure an empowering and trauma-informed response for survivors when reporting and navigating the legal aftermath of such incidents. It acknowledges the invaluable insights provided by those who have firsthand experience of sexual assault and the challenges of the legal system.

AIJA president Jenny Blokland highlighted the prevalence of sexual violence in Australia, producing immense societal harm and trauma. Blokland underscored that committed action across all jurisdictions, sectors and levels of government is required to effectively dress and prevent sexual violence from continuing.

"Assuring those who experience sexual violence can expect an empowering and trauma-informed response when reporting sexual assault, and when participating in consequent criminal legal proceedings, is fundamental to strengthening the responses by the criminal legal system to sexual assault in Australia," Blokland said.

AIJA emphasised that the report is a step towards enhancing the criminal legal system's approach to sexual assault cases in Australia. The report aims to bring about impactful changes in how sexual assault proceedings are managed, eventually improving survivors' experiences and outcomes.

Interested parties may view the report and its findings on the AIJA website.

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