Release of Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce report into women and girls’ experiences of criminal justice system

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

Hear her voice — Report two – Women and girls’ experiences across the criminal justice system was today handed to the Attorney-General, Minister Women and the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Shannon Fentiman by Taskforce chair, the Honourable Margaret McMurdo AC.

The report includes 188 recommendations for Government to improve women and girls experiences of the criminal justice system.

The Attorney-General said the report highlighted the important work undertaken by the Taskforce to inform the Government about reforms to the criminal justice system for women and girls as accused persons or offenders, and to support and protect women and girls as victim-survivors of sexual violence.

“Sexual violence remains one of the most heinous forms of violence in Australian society, with females representing an estimated 84 per cent of reported sexual assault victims,” the Attorney said.

“Two in five of these assaults can be linked to domestic and family violence (DFV).

“This is an incomprehensible reality for victims wanting to come forward to report perpetrators, who are also wary of the systems in place to assist them.

“That’s why it is vital for the government to receive comprehensive, evidence-based recommendations to help remove any barriers for women coming forward to utilise the justice system.

“More than 300 submissions were received, including over 250 from victim-survivors of sexual assault and 19 from offenders.

“I want to thank these countless survivors who courageously shared their experiences that will ultimately shape how we can best prevent and respond to issues of violence going forward.

“We’re continuing to listen to the community and take appropriate action to ensure the justice system allows all victims’ voices to be heard.”

The Attorney-General said the findings and recommendations of the second report would be carefully considered by the Government, including further considerations to the Queensland’s consent laws.

“The prior work and recommendations of the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce speaks volumes,” she said.

“These are complex issues that require significant consideration to determine how best to strengthen our criminal justice system to better respond to women and girls experiencing violence.”

The Taskforce has considered possible areas of reform across a number of relevant agencies, including in prevention and community awareness, reducing barriers to reporting, improvements to the State’s service response and support for victims as they navigate the criminal justice system and possible legislative amendments.

They have also considered the current impacts of resourcing to address sexual violence, the over-representation of First Nations women in the justice system, community attitudes to consent laws and the general barriers faced by women when reporting crimes through to their experiences in the courts.

“We’re committed to ending all forms of domestic, family and sexual violence in this State and know there is much work yet to be done,” the Attorney said.

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