What change can improve the sexual violence support sector to better assist
victims to engage with the justice system?
11.53In Part C we refer to the concept of “victims’ justice interests”. Part D of the Report is concerned with meeting victims’ support and service needs or interests as they arise in the immediate aftermath of sexual violence, in the period prior to any justice process being undertaken and after any justice process has been concluded. In our view, meeting victims’ support and service needs is essential to victim engagement with any justice process.
11.54The period prior to any justice process taking place is crucial as it provides an opportunity to place the victim in the strongest position possible before entering the justice system. As it currently stands victims often exit the criminal justice system with an enduring sense of injustice. For this reason it is important that victims receive the best possible assistance and support outside the justice system.
11.55The conclusion we have reached is that reform is needed and that this programme of reform should be led by government. As noted, despite several government departments/agencies currently working in the field of sexual violence, these departments have discrete areas of responsibility and tend to work in isolation. What is lacking is a lead government body focusing on the issues relating to sexual violence, which is mandated to coordinate other government agencies and departments with interests in the field and that has a strong relationship with the community service providers that make up the sexual violence support service sector. Our principal reform proposal is for the Government to establish a new entity to focus on sexual violence and this is the focus of our discussion in the next chapter.