The ACT Government is seeking community input on how changes to the criminal law recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse should be implemented.
The major reforms the Government is considering concern new legislation for failing to report offences, failing to protect at-risk children, the way victims and witnesses provide their evidence and changes to trial, and sentencing procedures for child sexual abuse offences.
Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay said key reforms to the way the criminal justice system responded to and supported victims of child sexual abuse, and others affected by sexual offences, would be a vital part of the Government’s response to the work of the Royal Commission by June this year.
“The ACT Government is committed to ensuring the lessons from the evidence to the Royal Commission are put into action in the Territory,” Mr Ramsay said.
“Our reforms will focus on ensuring criminal law and processes in the ACT are fair for survivors of sexual abuse, witnesses involved in the court process, and those accused of offences.”
Mr Ramsay said society had too often failed to keep its most vulnerable people safe, and the Royal Commission provided evidence from countless survivors that changes needed to be made to how these crimes were tried in the courts.
“Some of these changes have the potential to change the way people’s rights are reflected in the court process. We need to ensure we make changes to the system to address this, and do it quickly,” he said.
Material outlining the issues involved in these reforms, the recommendations by the Royal Commission and what the ACT now needs to consider are now available on the Your Say website.
Mr Ramsay said he would also be consulting directly with a range of key stakeholders in the justice system and more broadly.
The ACT Government has already implemented a range of recommendations from the Royal Commission, including a Reportable Conduct Scheme, new grooming offences and sentencing reforms for child sex offenders.
The Government also recently announced that it is opting-in to a national Redress Scheme to provide more support to survivors of child sexual abuse that occurred in an institution under the responsibility of the ACT Government.
Information about proposed areas for legislative change and details on how to contribute to the reforms are located at www.justice.act.gov.au and will be available on www.yoursay.act.gov.au. Submissions must be received by 27 April.