Latest news, submissions, position papers and media releases from QSAN
Rape and sexual assault victims to pay the price of budget neglect
21st June, 2023
Queensland Sexual Assault Network (QSAN), the peak body for sexual violence support services, says that rape and sexual assault victims will sadly pay the price of the Queensland Government failing to address chronic underfunding in the latest state budget.
“Victims of rape and sexual violence in Queensland are already waiting as long as 12 months to access support and are being re-assaulted while waiting for help. The neglect in the Queensland state budget does little to address this neglected and underfunded sector with only 3.7 million to be shared between domestic violence and sexual violence support services in the 2023-24 budget.”
Help, Hope, Change Sexual Violence Awareness Month Campaign Launch
13th October 2022
The theme of this year’s sexual violence awareness month is help, hope change.
In August this year, QSAN services held 11 workshops with survivors across the State from Atherton Tablelands to the Whitsundays to Toowoomba, the Sunshine Coast, Logan and the Southeast.
Approximately 60 victim-survivors participated and provided feedback on the questions:
What helped you? (a message to the community about how to respond to disclosures and support victim-survivors):
What gives you hope? (a message to other victim-survivors that things will change and will get better)
What would you like to change? (a message to decision makers and the community about what needs to change to improve responses and outcome for victim-survivors).
QSAN’s social media campaign uses the voices of victim-survivors to inform the social media campaign published throughout October.
QLD Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce – Discussion Paper 3
Consultation Open for the new Queensland Women’s Strategy
18th August 2021
The Queensland Government is calling for all Queenslanders across the state to contribute to the shaping of a new Queensland Women’s Strategy, aimed at promoting and protecting women’s rights, interests and wellbeing, and ensuring women’s full social and economic participation in society.
How you can participate
Visit www.qld.gov.au/qwsconsultation to find out more about having your say. You can:
- Respond to the discussion paper
- Complete the online survey
The closing date for completion of the online survey and to provide a written submission is 5pm Friday 8 October 2021.
Final report of the second year review of the National Redress Scheme
23rd June 2021
An independent review was conducted following the the National Redress Scheme’s second anniversary. Ms Robyn Kruk AO was appointed to conduct the independent review of the Scheme. The final report from the review was released today making 38 recommendations.
25th May 2021
New legislation effective from the 5 July 2021 will now require every adult in Queensland to report information relating to child sexual offences committed in relation to a child under 16 years of age to the Queensland Police Service. Failure to do so is punishable by 3 years in prison.
The Queensland Criminal Code (Child Sexual Offences Reform) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2020 received assent in Parliament on the 14 September 2020 and will commence in Queensland from the 5 July 2021. The ‘failure to report’ offence outlined in Section 229BC of the Queensland Criminal Code goes beyond the recommendations of the Criminal Justice Report released by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which limits the mandatory reporting obligations to those adults associated with institutions.
13th May 2021
Queensland Sexual Assault Network Inc. responds to Queensland Government funding commitments
The Queensland Sexual Assault Network Inc. (QSAN) welcomes the Queensland Government’s commitments to provide additional funding to specialist sexual assault services. This commitment is a first step towards adequately funding specialist Queensland sexual violence services.
Further work is needed to ensure that this funding is maintained as core funding. Funding gaps in sexual assault counselling and support service delivery across Queensland need to be identified and funded. All people impacted by sexual violence have the right to access responsive, timely, and flexible counselling and support.
Submissions now open – Women’s Experience within the Criminal Justice System in Queensland
Attorney-General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Shannon Fentiman is inviting women to come forward and talk about their experiences dealing with the criminal justice system.
The Attorney said public submissions are now open to the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce chaired by former judge, the Honourable Margaret McMurdo AC.
“The work of the Women’s Safety and Justice taskforce is crucial in looking at what barriers women face when they report on violence committed against them, and to look at laws that will keep women safe and hold perpetrators to account.
“The information shared will allow the taskforce to look into areas of reform, including attitudinal change, prevention, service response, training for first responders and legislative amendment, with a trauma approach.”
Submissions can be made through the secure portal on the taskforce website at www.womenstaskforce.qld.gov.au to assist with its wide-ranging review exploring women’s experience with the criminal justice system.
Review of Women’s Experience within the Criminal Justice System in Queensland
The Premier has announced a wide-ranging review into the experience of women across the criminal justice system to be undertaken by the Women’s Safety and Justice taskforce, led by Margaret McMurdo AC.
“We know that women face barriers when reporting against domestic, family and sexual violence,” the Premier said.
“And while we’ve made significant progress to prevent and respond to domestic, family and sexual violence in Queensland, we know there is more work to be done.
“We know that the experience of the criminal justice system for women as victims, survivors or accused is different than it is for men.
“We also know that women and girls are disproportionally affected as victims of sexual assault, but it remains one of the most under-reported crimes, and only a small proportion of reported cases are prosecuted in court and achieve a conviction.
“Women also face a range of barriers when they seek help, which can draw out the legal process adding to their trauma.
The Queensland Sexual Assault Network Inc. – Notice of Annual General Meeting 2020-2021
2-3pm, Thursday 12th November 2020
CQU, 160 Anne St, Brisbane & via Zoom
RSVP Thursday 5th November 2020
Sexual Violence Awareness Month
28th September, 2020
Sexual Violence Awareness Month is held during October each year to:
- raise community awareness about sexual violence,
- promote the support options available to people affected by sexual assault and sexual abuse, and
- uphold a clear message that sexual violence will not be tolerated in our communities.
The theme for SVAM this year is #WeBelieveYou.
QSAN services contribute to a range of awareness-raising activities and community events occurring across Queensland during Sexual Violence Awareness Month.
If you have been impacted by sexual assault, rape or sexual violence, it’s not your fault. There are many ways for you to get the support you need. Our support services will listen to you and they will believe you. They will work with you in the way that suits you best. You can decide how to address the impacts of what you have experienced. It doesn’t matter how long ago it happened or if you don’t think it was serious enough, if it is impacting you then we are here to help.
Criminal Code (Consent and Mistake of Fact) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020
On 13 August 2020, Hon Yvette D’Ath MP, Attorney General and Minister for Justice introduced the Criminal Code (Consent and Mistake of Fact) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 (the Bill) and referred it to the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee (the committee) for detailed consideration.
The committee invites written submissions on the Bill from interested stakeholders and members of the public. The closing date for lodging written submissions has been extended to Tuesday 29 September 2020.
QSAN position paper: QLRC review of consent laws and the excuse of mistake of fact
9th September, 2020
QSAN believes that the opportunity has been missed to broadly assess the operation and practical application of current legislation that would improve the safety of women, encourage them to report to police and engage with the criminal justice system. Furthermore, that the recommendations do not address the failings of legislation and the criminal justice system that were actively raised in submissions from women’s services and in consultation with victim/survivors and advocates.
QSAN aligns with Women’s Legal Service Queensland (WLSQ) and Rape and Sexual Assault Research and Advocacy’s (RASARA) recommendations for amending the QLRC’s draft Criminal Code (Consent and Mistake of Fact) Amendment Bill 2020.
- THAT ANY REFORM MAKES QUEENSLAND SAFER FOR THE VICTIMS OF SEXUAL AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND HOLDS OFFENDERS ACCOUNTABLE
- THAT THE PASSAGE OF THE BILL BE SLOWED/HALTED TO ALLOW TIME TO UNDERTAKE A BROADER REVIEW
- THAT A BROAD-BASED REVIEW BE UNDERTAKEN
- THAT AN AFFIRMATIVE MODEL OF CONSENT IS ADOPTED
- THAT SPECIFIC PROVISIONS ARE INTRODUCED TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT CONSENT IN THE CONTEXT OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
- THAT MISTAKE OF FACT IS FURTHER CLARIFIED
- THAT GUIDING PRINCIPLES ARE INCLUDED
Queensland Law Reform Commission Report – Consent and Mistake of Fact
In 2019, the Honourable Yvette D’Ath MP, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, issued terms of reference to the Queensland Law Reform Commission (QLRC) about the operation of Queensland’s laws regarding consent and the excuse of mistake of fact as they apply to rape and sexual assaults.
The QLRC reported to the Attorney-General on 30 June 2020 in response to these terms of reference and suggested there should be some amendments to the Criminal Code to strengthen, reinforce and update the current operation of consent law in Queensland.
More than $1.8 m for sexual assault partnership in Townsville
The trial of a specialist Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) in Townsville will become permanent with new funding of more than $1.8 million over five-years from the Palaszczuk Government for the North Queensland Combined Women’s Service.
Townsville’s SART is a multi-agency approach involving police, health, forensic services and sexual assault counsellors to connect victims with the services they need from the moment they report an offence, through to their court hearing.
National Redress Scheme
The National Redress Scheme provides acknowledgement and support to people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse.
It was created in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which estimated that 60,000 people experienced institutional child sexual abuse in Australia.
The National Redress Scheme can provide three things:
- access to counselling;
- a Redress payment; and
- a direct personal response from the institution (e.g. an apology) for people who want one.
The Scheme started on 1 July 2018 and will run for 10 years.
For more information, visit www.nationalredress.gov.au or call the National Redress Information Line on 1800 737 377.
Media Statement: COVID-19: Sexual violence to increase within our homes – Services encourage people to reach out for support and the government to take action to increase safety
30th March, 2020
Queensland specialist sexual support workers are seeing an increase in people reaching out for support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
QSAN, the peak body for sexual assault in Queensland, has advised that specialist sexual assault services are moving rapidly to adapt service models to ensure that they can continue to support people impacted by sexual violence during this time…
The Queensland Law Reform Commission releases a consultation paper calling for submissions on laws relating to consent and the excuse of mistake of fact in rape and sexual assault cases
20th December 2019
QSAN welcomes the review of the Queensland consent laws and excuse of mistake of fact in relation to rape and sexual assault cases. It is clear that the current Queensland laws pertaining to sexual assault and rape cases are not effective in advocating for victims of sexual assault or protecting the community from perpetrators of sexual violence…