Vulnerable women and children in Murray Plains will be better supported by a new online reporting process that will empower survivors of sexual assault to take control of their case and help prevent future offending from occurring.
The Victorian Nationals’ plan will modernise the system and better protect women in the future, by establishing a flexible and informal reporting option for cases of sexual assault.
Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, said as the only state in the nation not offering this option to women, there were already successful models Victoria could look to.
“For too long Victoria has lagged behind the nation on flexible reporting of sexual assault, making it harder for survivors to come forward and offenders to be held to account,” he said.
“Daniel Andrews must now back our plan and work with the Liberal Nationals to introduce these overdue reforms.”
Sexual offences have risen more than 24 per cent in Victoria over the last five years, with data also showing half of women did not seek advice or support after their most recent incident of sexual assault perpetrated by a male. It means countless cases of sexual assault continue to go unreported.
Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence and Women Emma Kealy said the new reporting option could be based on the New South Wales Sexual Assault Reporting Option (SARO).
SARO is a joint initiative of New South Wales Police and Sexual Assault and Consent Advocate Chanel Contos, aiming to empower survivors to establish a record of what occurred, act as a therapeutic tool and increase police intelligence to better inform crime prevention initiatives.
“Sexual assault survivors have been calling for an informal option to report sexual assault which will strengthen accountability for perpetrators and better support victims, and that’s exactly what the Liberal Nationals will deliver,” Ms Kealy said.
“Rates of violence against women are surging under the Andrews Labor Government while convictions related to family violence are falling. The Andrews Labor Government must follow the lead of the Liberal Nationals and support our initiative to better support women and hold perpetrators to account.”