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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 18 August 2011) . . Page.. 3558 ..


extension has been the subject of consultation with stakeholders and has been supported.

Two less substantial but equally important reforms are included to clarify the operation of special measures for victims of sexual and violent crimes which formed part of the sexual assault reforms implemented in 2009. Firstly, amendments have been made to clarify that protections for witnesses will apply in proceedings for the offence for contravention of a protection order under the Domestic Violence and Protection Orders Act 2008, but only where those proceedings are related to sexual or violent offences. These amendments are designed to remove the ambiguity that currently exists and ensure that the protections are available to victims in need.

The second set of amendments will provide that the court is not bound by the rules of evidence and may inform itself as it considers appropriate when making certain determinations. These amendments will allow the court to consider hearsay evidence in determining whether a witness requires special measures to facilitate the giving of their evidence.

This evidence could include evidence from a counsellor or from a psychologist and would reduce the need to subject a witness to further trauma. This trauma would be caused by examining witnesses in the normal process to establish that they require special measures to facilitate them giving their evidence.

Madam Assistant Speaker, this bill is an important part of the reform of evidence law in the territory. The amendments in the bill improve the operation of evidence law in the ACT and, more importantly, provide certainty for victims of crime in their interaction with the justice system. The reforms have received the broad support of key stakeholders in the justice system, who were provided with the opportunity to comment in detail on the proposals in April this year. 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.

Adjournment

Motion by (Mr Corbell) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Vietnam Veterans Day remembrance service

HMAS Canberra memorial service

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (4.48): Today I had the opportunity to attend the Vietnam Veterans Day remembrance service organised by


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