Survivors must be better supported

Today, the Victorian Liberal Nationals announce a plan to modernise reporting of sexual assault to enable survivors to take control of their case and help prevent future offending from occurring.

As sexual offences have risen more than 24 per cent in Victoria over the last five years, a recent Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report found half of women did not seek advice or support after their most recent incident of sexual assault perpetrated by a male meaning countless cases of sexual assault continue to go unreported.

Despite this deeply concerning trend, Victoria remains the only jurisdiction in the nation without a structured informal reporting option for cases of sexual assault.

As an important first step to better support survivors and prevent offending, a future Liberal Nationals Government will implement a flexible and informal reporting option for cases of sexual assault, based on the New South Wales Sexual Assault Reporting Option (SARO).

SARO is a joint initiative of New South Wales Police and Sexual Assault and Consent Advocate Chanel Contos, aiming to empower survivors to establish a record of what occurred, act as a therapeutic tool and increase police intelligence to better inform crime prevention initiatives.

The Victorian Liberal Nationals will continue to work closely with key stakeholders, including Victoria Police, The Police Association, advocates and survivor groups. We call on the Andrews Labor Government to support this policy and urgently implement these overdue reforms.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Police and Crime Prevention, David Southwick:

“For too long Victoria has lagged behind the nation on flexible reporting of sexual assault, making it harder for survivors to come forward and offenders to be held to account.

“Daniel Andrews must now back our plan and work with the Liberal Nationals to introduce these overdue reforms.”

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence and Women, Emma Kealy:

“Sexual assault survivors have been calling for an informal option to report sexual assault which will strengthen accountability for perpetrators and better support victims, and that’s exactly what the Liberal Nationals will deliver.

“Rates of violence against women are surging under the Andrews Labor Government while convictions related to family violence are falling. The Andrews Labor Government must follow the lead of the Liberal Nationals and support our initiative to better support women and hold perpetrators to account.”

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