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Victims privacy deserve protection, says Law Institute of Victoria

Victims privacy deserve protection, says Law Institute of Victoria

By LIV Media

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A Bill to prevent victims of sexual assault being named without consent, even after death, is designed to protect the privacy of vulnerable members of our community, according to the Law Institute of Victoria. 

The Justice Legislation (Supporting Victims and Other Measures) Amendment Bill 2020 is currently before the Parliament.

LIV Criminal Law section co-chair Mel Walker said the intention was to reform the process of safely identifying victims of sexual offending and maintain the prohibition against the identification of a deceased person as a victim of sexual assault.

“This would respect the continued protection of a victims right to anonymity after death,” Ms Walker said.

“Identifying a deceased person as a victim of sexual assault is a complex issue.  It is often in these sensitive and distressing circumstances that the need for robust judicial oversight is warranted. 

“The court must take into account the views of family members, who may present valid opposing opinions, to ensure that the release of highly sensitive material is properly considered and in the public interest,” she said. 

This is in contrast to where a victim gave their consent to release material during their lifetime and which continues after their death.

The overriding purpose of these regulations is to “protect victims” and a person who carefully guarded their anonymity during their lifetime should not have that right evaporate when they pass away.

The LIV urged the Government to conduct further consultation with victims’ families and relevant groups, including the media, to get the reforms on the issue right.

 


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