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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 11 May 2021) . . Page.. 1230 ..


role of the victim, and providing a restorative accountability framework which sets out clear pathways for acknowledgement of the impact where victim rights are not upheld, as well as opportunities to improve victim engagement practices, including for sexual assault victims.

In my capacity as Minister for Human Rights, I am committed to improving services for victims and survivors within our rights-based ACT context. I want to stress how important the work that the Victims of Crime Commissioner and Victim Support ACT is for victims of crime in Canberra and how much they have done for victims and survivors here. As a community, we are indebted to them for the work they have done to continue to provide these dedicated services, and especially so during the pandemic, when demand increased even further.

I am committed to supporting the work of the sexual assault prevention and response working group and the steering committee, and to working closely with my ministerial colleagues, the community, the service sector, unions and relevant stakeholders on responses to sexual assault in the ACT.

It is important that the working group be inclusive, so that the experience of sexual violence across the community can be heard, including from, as has already been acknowledged across the chamber today, people with a disability, children and young people, the LGBTIQ+ community, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, and communities that are culturally and linguistically diverse. We know there are many different experiences for these different groups and that our response must provide more than one pathway to support and justice.

Given my responsibility for victims services, I want to ensure that the services available for victims and survivors are efficient, appropriate and responsive to their needs. I look forward to working with the steering committee and its subcommittees to ensure that this is realised.

Mr Davis is right; this is an issue that disproportionately affects women, but that does not mean it should be women’s burden alone to solve it. This is the responsibility of all of us, as a community, and as leaders in this space. The approach that Minister Berry has taken is one that firmly recognises this. I look forward to engaging with the steering committee and the working groups.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (10.39): I am pleased to speak about the sexual assault prevention and response work that has already started. I thank Minister Berry for bringing forward this really important piece of work with tripartisan support.

The Canberra Liberals are 100 per cent behind the very real desire and attempts to make, at last, a really concrete difference, because we have been encountering the same issues for so long. Not a lot has changed over the last 20 or 30 years. I am really hopeful and optimistic that now, at last, community sentiment has reached that tipping point where it is now concurrent with or at the same level as the desire of service providers in the field and legislators to make a very real difference.


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