Sex victims 'should get court choice'
From the article by Jane Lee in The Courier:
Victims of sexual assaults, particularly in cases unlikely to result in a conviction, should be able to access other forms of justice, former state attorney-general Rob Hulls says.
Mr Hulls, now the director of RMIT's Centre for Innovative Justice, said that while more people had been prosecuted for sexual offences over the past five years, they still carried one of the lowest rates of conviction of any crime.
This was partly due to the ''he said, she said'' battle after perpetrators pleaded not guilty, and the high standard of proof - beyond reasonable doubt - required for serious crimes.
The adversarial court system, which is often costly and unwieldy, had failed many victims as a result. It would continue to deter them from the prosecution process and could retraumatise them.
''We need to offer non-adversarial options, not as a supposedly soft alternative or diversion but as part of the core business of justice,'' Mr Hulls said at the international Broadening Restorative Perspective conference at the MCG on Tuesday.
''Most importantly, we can no longer assume that a wrong is adequately addressed by a mutually exclusive choice.''
Research showed that while victims wanted offenders punished, they wanted the crimes against them condemned, to share their stories in their own way and to prevent future violence more.
''We owe it to victims of sexual offences to find better paths through the maze - ones more likely to see their experiences properly acknowledged, and prevent them from occurring again,'' he said.
Read the full article.