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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 7 Hansard (3 July) . . Page.. 2667..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

will be able to remand the convicted person in custody where bail has not been granted.

For the Regulatory Services Legislation Amendment Act 2008, the bill amends the act to delay the commencement of the amendments to the Door-to-Door Trading Act 1991 until consultation can occur with consumer and business groups to address concerns about the application of the amendments to telemarketers. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stefaniak ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Sexual and Violent Offences Legislation Amendment Bill 2008

Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10:53): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Today I introduce the Sexual and Violent Offences Legislation Amendment Bill 2008, which will amend the Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1991 and the Magistrates Court Act 1930 to make it less stressful and traumatic for victims of sexual offences at committal proceedings and at trial. It will also provide special measures for victims of violent offences and other vulnerable witnesses when they give their evidence in court. These amendments are designed to minimise the potential re-victimisation that these witnesses can experience when interacting with the criminal justice system.

It is widely recognised that sexual assault has a devastating impact on its victims. Notwithstanding any physical injury that may occur as a result of the assault, the emotional impact, in terms of trauma and stress, can be significant and long lasting. The effects of sexual assault are also felt by the victims' families, the health system and the criminal justice system.

While the right to a fair trial is a central pillar of the criminal justice system, for too long now maintaining the balance of fairness in the prosecution of sexual assault has been heavily weighted against the complainant. The criminal justice system has failed to treat complainants with the respect they deserve, leaving many complainants feeling betrayed after participating in the prosecution process, the very process through which they seek justice.

National and international statistics have revealed that sexual assault is also notoriously under-reported. Even where it is reported, only a small proportion of cases ever proceed to trial. Although there is a range of factors why this occurs, the most obvious factor is the victim's expectations of how he or she will be treated by the


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