Page 1905 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 June 2022
It starts with conversation ... Communication breeds understanding, and understanding is the foundation of progress. Lived experience informs structural and social change. When we share, we heal.
I present the following paper:
Listen. Take Action to Prevent, Believe and Heal—
Report presented to the ACT Government by the sexual assault prevention and response steering committee, dated December 2021.
Ministerial statement, 9 June 2022.
That the Assembly take note of the ministerial statement.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Attorney-General, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Gaming and Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction) (10.22): I am pleased to rise today to speak to the government response to the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Steering Committee’s final report, entitled Listen. Take Action to Prevent, Believe and Heal.
The report represents an extremely valuable program of work, shining a light on the suffering that many of us would have known, in some way, was there. But now we know much more specifically, and how we should go about confronting it. Our community has been having a really important conversation and reckoning around the issues of sexual violence. As a government, and as members of this place, we need to be able to respond to that.
That is why, from the very beginning of this term, it has been an item in the parliamentary and governing agreement to revisit the past recommendations of the Sexual Assault Response Program and to implement a positive definition of consent. Every person deserves sexual safety and to live without fear of their autonomy being violated. Unfortunately, we are not there yet, but work will support the government’s commitment. It is right there in the name of the report: we must start by listening to lived experience and then commit, in our actions, to do what we can to prevent sexual violence in our community, to believe victim-survivors and to help to heal.
In my role as Attorney-General there is, rightly, a significant focus on law reform and the way that our legal system responds to incidents of sexual violence. However, from listening to advocates and victim-survivors, it is clear that the court system is not what justice looks like for everyone. When matters do come to court, victim-survivors do not always do so for the same reason. Sometimes it is to get justice for themselves, sometimes for others as well and sometimes to prevent a perpetrator from hurting anyone else. These and any other reasons are valid, and we need to respect them.
There are many law reform recommendations contained within the report, predominantly under recommendation 23 and its various sub-recommendations. Many