The “justice” system is failing survivors: We need reform now

Reporting a sexual assault, and trying to get justice, closure or healing should not cause someone further harm. 

Too many rape survivors are hurt by the so-called “justice” system. The system needs to change. At the very least, legal avenues for reporting sexual violence should not be traumatic; they should hold the people responsible for sexual violence to account; and they should provide victim-survivors with agency and choice when seeking justice.

Multiple reviews have been conducted. Hundreds of recommendations have been made. Attorney-Generals around the country have acknowledged that reform is needed, and committed to some of the changes necessary - but many of those changes aren’t scheduled to progress for years. 

31,000 people reported sexual assault to police last year - most of them women and girls. We can’t wait years to address the harm this broken system is doing to people who need it right now.

Will you add your voice to the call for Attorneys-General to urgently reform legal and court systems to protect survivors and actually deliver justice?


More information (click to view) 

In 2016, 200,500 Australians experienced sexual assault. But trust and faith in our “justice” system is so low that the majority of those people did not report their experience to police. And amongst the small number of people who were willing to endure the challenges of reporting sexual assault to police - most did not see a conviction. 

Too often in our current “justice” system, people who have experienced sexual violence do not get what they need or want. Instead, the current system often leaves survivors feeling alone, invisible, and as if they are the ones on trial.

Survivors and advocates have been leading the call for change for decades. Multiple independent inquiries have recommended hundreds of specific reforms.[1] 

In August this year Attorneys-General from across the country agreed to three areas of action:

  1. Strengthening legal frameworks to improve justice outcomes, including reforming legal definitions related to sexual offending, considering reforms to admissibility, and examining legislative protections for vulnerable witnesses.
  2. Building justice sector capacity - including an assessment of legal assistance available to victim-survivors, technology available, and specialist facilities.
  3. Supporting research and greater collaboration to identify best practice policy. 

But many of these reform areas are set to a timeframe of 2 or more years.[2] Survivors can’t wait. These changes should be a priority. Join the campaign and urge Attorney-Generals to advance reforms in this area urgently.



1. Victorian Law Reform Commission, Improving the Response of the Justice System to Sexual Offences Report, November 2021; ACT Government Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Steering Committee, Listen. Take Action to Prevent, Believe and Heal Report, December 2021Queensland Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce, Hear her voice - Report two – Women and girls’ experiences across the criminal justice system, July 2022.

2. Meeting of Attorneys-General, Work Plan to Strengthen Criminal Justice Responses to Sexual Assault: 2022 - 2027, 12 August 2022.



To Attorneys-General across Australia,

The ‘justice’ system is failing survivors of sexual assault, and causing extra harm.

We call on you to urgently advance reforms to support the wellbeing, healing and recovery of people affected by sexual violence.  


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