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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (5 June) . . Page.. 1923 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

concerned about the educative phase and the notification phase. Some concerns have been voiced as to whether the establishments themselves are taking enough due care, whether the establishments are ensuring that there is no way that their staff could be involved in this process, so the police are meeting with the industry and letting the industry know their requirements.

One of the things that I want to do-I have already spoken to the police about it-is promote the idea of getting people to contact Crime Stoppers if they feel that they may have had a drink spiked and suffered some assault but are not certain that that is the case and, because of personal embarrassment, because of the desire for anonymity no matter what, they do not want to report it. If they take the alternative and report it through Crime Stoppers, at least the intelligence base can be built and the police can take responsive action. Not only can they take action in terms of monitoring premises, even some covert monitoring, but also they can target the education process, get the notices up and, if the detection devices become available, make sure that the industry is, shall we say, encouraged to make those detection devices available.

Certainly, the part of the motion which says that there ought be a multi-agency approach to this matter is accepted. The police will be working on that. As most members know, when an issue like this one comes before the Assembly, ministers get a brief from the relevant agency. Let me say that I have a brief in front of me from the AFP and it is totally unqualified in relation to support of virtually every letter of this motion, so it has our full support.

MS TUCKER (12.08): I wish to make a brief contribution. Members have already expressed very well the main aspects of this debate. I thank Ms Gallagher for bringing it on. The point has been made clearly that there is a need to look at this problem from a couple of perspectives. The first is the question of trying to get an accurate picture of when drink spiking is occurring. It is not necessarily the case at the moment that the incidence of drink spiking and the result of the drink spiking, which could be some kind of sexual assault or robbery, will be reported. We would support what Mr Quinlan said in terms of giving people who want to report drink spiking the opportunity of doing so in an anonymous way so that an intelligence base can be the developed on where it is happening. You may end up seeing clusters in particular venues, which would obviously help the police.

Having said that, it is of concern to me still that victims of, particularly, sexual assault are often traumatised further by the legal process that follows reporting. The legal procedures are still a problem. We have had a Law Reform Commission report on that very subject, but there is still quite a long way to go there. We have to be very strong about raising that issue in this discussion, particularly in light of Mr Quinlan's suggestion that people have an anonymous avenue for reporting. As I said, it would be useful for working out where drink spiking is occurring, but it should not be seen as a reason not to try to make the actual process of reporting as supportive as possible so that people who have been sexually assaulted can go to the police and through the courts if they want.

An important point that was particularly well explained by Roslyn Dundas this morning is that alcohol has been the cause of date rape and the cause of people of all ages, young and old, becoming extremely vulnerable and finding themselves in very risky situations.

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