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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 2 Hansard (20 February) . .

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message that the territory will not be intimidated and will not tolerate any criminal activity. At the same time we will keep approaching criminal justice in a way that acknowledges the importance and value of our human rights framework. We will always work to ensure that Canberra remains Australia's safest city and Australia's leading human rights jurisdiction. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 (No 2)

Debate resumed from 30 November 2017, on motion by Mr Ramsay:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (11.54): The Canberra Liberals will be supporting this bill today in principle but, as the Attorney-General is aware, I have some significant concerns, particularly now with one clause. In the lead-up to this a number of clauses have shown themselves to be very problematic, not in the intent, I think, of what is trying to be achieved but in the way that the legislation has been framed.

This is an omnibus bill. It covers a number of important reforms and gives effect to several of the key recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, particularly those in the criminal justice report. It also includes some reforms that recent cases have demonstrated are areas of our laws which need to be reformed as gaps or ambiguities have been exposed.

Turning to the royal commission findings first, by far the most complex changes are those that arise from that report. The royal commission, through extensive hearings and detailed evidence, created a series of recommendations for reform. Throughout the harrowing tales that were heard by that commission it became clear that, as summarised by the commission:

The criminal justice system is often seen as not being effective in responding to crimes of sexual violence, including child sexual abuse. These crimes have low reporting rates, higher attrition rates, lower charging and prosecution rates, fewer guilty pleas and fewer convictions.

The commission further acknowledged that the criminal justice system is unlikely ever to provide an easy or straightforward experience for a complainant of institutional child sexual abuse. However, it is important that survivors seek and obtain a criminal justice response to any child sex abuse. This bill in part seeks to provide that criminal justice response.


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