​Conventional and innovative justice responses to sexual violence

Author(s) Daly, Kathleen
Title Conventional and innovative justice responses to sexual violence
Source ACSSA issues; Australian Institute of Family Studies; September 2011; Issue 12; p 1-35
Date 2011
Document type Research report
CoverageAustralia
Summary In this article the author explores a range of responses to sexual assault that exist both within and outside the legal system. The first part of the paper considers sexual assault law reform and notes that the most significant impact of the reforms appears to be the reporting of sexual assault, particularly in cases of non-stranger sexual assault. A number of conventional and innovative justice responses are discussed within four broad types: specialisation, offender focused, legal reform and victim advocacy and participation. Two responses, specialist courts and legal representation for victims, are considered in more detail. The author concludes that legal reform and responses to victims have assisted and improved the experiences of many victims of sexual assault but remain insufficient as they do not affect the vast majority of victims who do not report to police. It is suggested that more imaginative thought is needed to create new opportunities and openings for victims who choose to engage with the criminal justice system and for those victims who are unwilling to engage.
Keywords Criminal justice system; specialist courts; restorative justice; rape; sexual assault; survivors; reporting to police.
Topic Criminal justice system; sexual assault