The Australian government has initiated a 12-month review to examine the criminal justice system’s approach to sexual violence cases. The review is aimed at improving the experiences of victims within the justice system and the importance of additional support mechanisms for victims.

The comprehensive review will explore various avenues for improvement, including training and development options for judges, police, and legal practitioners. The focus will be on fostering trauma-informed and culturally safe justice responses. The review is expected to provide recommendations to the attorney general by 22 January 2025.

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth emphasised the significance of keeping victims and survivors at the core of the government’s response, particularly given the alarming statistic that one in five women in Australia has experienced sexual violence since the age of 15.

In conjunction with the review, the Federal Government introduced a new consent framework over the weekend, aiming to deliver more consistent messaging to young Australians. The framework is built upon five key concepts:

  1. Voluntary and free consent;
  2. Specific and informed consent;
  3. Affirmative and communicated consent;
  4. Ongoing and mutual consent; and
  5. Consent reflecting the capacity of individuals involved.

The overarching goal of the plan is to eradicate violence within one generation. Disturbingly, recent data reveals that more than 60 women were violently killed in Australia last year, with many falling victim to intimate partner violence.

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