Rape Trial Reform
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The justice system has resulted in the emotional harm endured by victims of rape. Numerous cases that have gone to Court have had to be abandoned as a result of the psychological distress that it causes. A 14 year old girl from Geelong, was raped by three men consecutively in 2015. The girl was subjected to cross examinations for each of the men, her graphic re tell of the story was aired in court causing emotional damage. Her parents made the decision to withdraw from the case in order to prevent further psychological damage.
We are a group of students who have created this bill to debate at Youth Parliament. Youth Parliament is a way for the voices of young adults to be recognised. Our bill aims to minimise emotional harm suffered by victims of rape during court proceedings and to improve upon the current rates of rape conviction in Victoria. With a mere 3% out of reported rape trials resulting in conviction, Victorian victims of rape are in dire need for an increase in rape conviction rates and improved courtroom consideration of their suffering. For many victims, the trial is the focal point of their journey through the criminal justice system. Despite the implementation of a range of reforms over the last two or more decades, the trial process continues to be a source of dissatisfaction and distress for many victims.
This Bill aims to implement practical measures which will help to minimise the risk of secondary traumatisation of victims by reducing their exposure to the adversarial criminal justice process itself; one that some, and arguably many, victims cannot come forward to face in fear of being subject to humiliating processes and possible re-traumatisation. Improved support and protection for rape victims through necessary reforms of the legal system will ultimately incite confidence amongst other rape victims to speak out.
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