Ground-breaking WA strategy to combat sexual violence
Women’s Interests Minister Simone McGurk, Attorney General John Quigley and Health Minister Roger Cook have commissioned Western Australia’s first strategy aimed at combating the scourge of sexual violence and improving the experience of survivors.
Sexual violence has a significant and lasting impact on victims, their families and the wider community.
A whole-of-government approach is needed to address this devastating issue in our communities and support the co-ordinated prevention of sexual violence, which includes sexual assault, harassment, abuse and threats.
The Office of the Commissioner for Victims of Crime and the Department of Communities will lead the development of the Sexual Violence Prevention Strategy over the next two years.
The Commissioner for Victims of Crime has been working with the Director of Public Prosecutions on putting forward recommendations to the Attorney General in relation to sexual assault laws in WA and how to improve the experience of victims in the criminal justice system.
The needs of all victims – those who are female, male and gender diverse – will be included in the strategy.
Through consultation, it will incorporate the voices of victim-survivors, members of the community and people working in the sector.
Consultation and development of the strategy will be guided by a reference group of people with significant experience in the field.
Advocate for prevention of sexual and family violence Nicole Lambert has been appointed as independent chairperson of the reference group. Ms Lambert is Chief Executive Officer at Allambee Counselling and Vice-Chairperson of the National Association of Services Against Sexual Violence.
“Sexual violence is not a new issue, but we have reached a point where the wider community is no longer willing to tolerate or turn a blind eye to it.
“We need more people to feel comfortable sharing their stories and coming forward to report sexual violence and harassment – they shouldn’t have to suffer in silence.
“Sexual violence has absolutely no place in our society, and I am pleased that this strategy will improve responses to deliver better outcomes for victims.” said Minister of Women’s Interests Simone McGurk.
“This Government has a strong record of supporting and listening to victims of crime, particularly victims of violent crime. Last year we took a package of landmark family violence reforms through the Parliament.
“Now, we will consult widely and assemble all the relevant evidence to develop a strategy to address sexual violence in Western Australia in a way that supports victims and holds perpetrators to account for their actions.
“While sexual violence disproportionally impacts girls and women, the sexual violence strategy will also address the impact on men, boys and the LGBTQIA+ community.” said Attorney General John Quigley.
“The McGowan Government takes the issue of sexual violence very seriously.
“This is a significant women’s health issue – it is also an important public health and safety problem that everyone must take responsibility for as we improve the ways we prevent and respond to sexual violence.
“To paraphrase one survivor’s comments – rape isn’t just physical violence; it’s mental violence – there are a range of psychological and emotional impacts that continue long after the incident itself.
“With Ms Lambert appointed independent chair of the reference group, the sexual violence strategy will benefit from the leadership and guidance from someone who has worked as a counselling psychologist in this field for 10 years.” said Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Roger Cook.