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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 11 May 2021) . . Page.. 1229 ..


Human Rights and Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (10.33): I also rise to speak in support of the statement today, and to thank the Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister Berry, for establishing this important way forward.

I would also like to acknowledge my colleagues the Attorney-General, Minister Rattenbury, Minister Stephen-Smith, Minister Mick Gentleman, Minister Vassarotti and Minister Davidson, along with their directorates, who have been active in, and committed to, this work to ensure that progress is made in a coordinated and supported way across government. I also acknowledge the other members, from the opposition and the Greens, for their support.

Importantly, I want to acknowledge survivors. I want to acknowledge all of those in our community who work so hard to support survivors, providing rights-based, victim-centric services, and all of those who are driving cultural change. I am proud of the ACT government’s commitment to taking action to prevent and respond to sexual assault. I especially acknowledge Minister Berry’s leadership in this space.

As Minister for Human Rights, my broad policy responsibilities include the policy related to the work of the ACT Human Rights Commission on discrimination rights and victims services. It is vital that the justice system continues to make improvements to better acknowledge and meet the needs of victims and survivors of sexual assault. This leads to more people feeling able to report crime, better cooperation with police investigations and prosecutions, and improved justice outcomes. Treating victim survivors with respect and providing appropriate assistance to participate in the process also helps to avoid the justice process being experienced as distressing or re-traumatising.

The ACT has a strong history of upholding human rights and promoting and protecting the interests of victim survivors. As you know, Madam Speaker, the ACT was the first jurisdiction to establish a Human Rights Act, and the only jurisdiction with the Victims of Crime Commissioner, which is located within the Human Rights Commission. Now the ACT has the most robust victim rights framework nationally.

As many of us know, the Charter of Rights for Victims of Crime commenced on 1 January this year. The charter sets standards for how victims should be treated as they progress through the justice process by way of obligations for justice agencies, and an accountability framework so that there is a clear and reliable complaints resolution process where rights are breached.

The charter’s accountability framework includes the ability for a victim to raise a concern with a justice agency directly—indeed this is where the majority of concerns are expected to be resolved—or with the Victims of Crime Commissioner or the Human Rights Commission, where conciliation can be accessed so that there are opportunities for the acknowledgement of the breach having occurred and for practice change.

The charter will assist in bridging gaps between victim entitlements and what occurs in practice, raising community awareness about how justice processes occur and the


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