Govt resumes sexual violence Trial Proceedings work

  • Amy Adams

Justice Minister Amy Adams has asked the Law Commission to resume work on proposals for better supporting victims of sexual violence through the criminal process.

The Law Commission will revisit its previous work on alternative pre-trial and trial processes to identify options for improving complainants’ experience in court.

“The Government is committed to supporting victims of crime, particularly victims of sexual violence. How victims interact with the justice system is an area that is constantly being reviewed. For this reason I have now formally asked the Law Commission to resume their work on this matter,” says Ms Adams.

“It’s fitting that the resumption of this work is launched on White Ribbon Day, which highlights that we all need to treat victims with respect and recognise the devastating impact of sexual violence.”

Ms Adams says the court process can be particularly traumatic for victims of sexual violence, and more work needs to be done to make the experience easier for them.

“Victims of sexual offences have been through a harrowing ordeal. It is never going to be easy for them to re-live such events and be questioned about what happened. However, we need to do all we can to ensure that the process doesn’t needlessly re-victimise them,” Ms Adams says.

“The presumption of innocence until proven guilty is, however, a fundamental part of our system, which is why I have ruled out any proposals that would see the burden of proof fall on the defendant.”

Ms Adams says she has asked the Law Commission to undertake this work as a top priority.