The Liberal Nationals welcome the passage of the Justice Legislative Amendment (Supporting Victims and Other Matters) Bill 2020 through the Legislative Assembly today. The Bill is significantly improved with the incorporation of the Liberal Nationals amendment to ensure that the families of deceased sexual assault victims can continue to speak about their deceased loved ones.
This Bill also fixes Attorney-General Jill Hennessy’s previously flawed amendments to the Judicial Proceedings Reports Act 1958 (passed in 2019) that silenced living victims of crime. This imposed silence can currently only be overcome by obtaining a court order, a process which is costly, stressful and inconsistent with the 2017 Review of the Open Courts Act by the Hon Frank Vincent AO QC.
Jill Hennessy’s focus must now be to make amends for the pain and suffering unnecessarily caused by this traumatic process for the families of deceased sexual assault victims and other victims of crime.
The Liberal Nationals pay tribute to all those victims and their families who in recent days and weeks have shown enormous courage by speaking out and having their voices heard. These voices have had a powerful impact on the community and the Parliament.
There is a great deal of work to be done to ensure that the justice system treats victims of crime with the respect and dignity that they deserve.
The Liberal Nationals stand willing to work with the Government to make any necessary further changes to give a more victim-centric approach to justice in Victoria.