The state government's plan to re-visit an anomaly in the Judicial Proceedings Reports Act that has effectively silenced survivors of sexual abuse in Victoria is a welcome and necessary intervention.
Attorney-General Jill Hennessy has confirmed reforms will be fast-tracked so as to streamline processes for victim-survivors who wish to speak out, without the need for permission of the courts.
This change will end the current farcical situation, and mean the majority of victims will no longer require a court order to tell their stories, so long as they have agreed to being publically identified.
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For its part, the government says it is working on the legislative amendments which it plans to bring before Parliament as soon as possible.
Announcing the proposed changes, Minister Hennessy spoke of her immense respect for victim-survivors who have the courage to speak out about their experiences and advocate for positive change.
"We hear you and we will take action."
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Ms Hennessy's candid admission that the controversial laws seek to maintain the privacy of sexual offence victims, and that they were not designed to intended to restrict willing victim-survivors from speaking out, is a welcome intervention.
"The voices of victim-survivors are a powerful and important part of the justice system. Their expertise will be invaluable as we make these urgent changes," she said.
More health news: Kangaroo Flat healthcare worker tests positive to COVID-19The Bendigo Advertiser last week joined other media in calling for sexual abuse survivors to be allowed to have a voice and to have their say, without being hindered or having to jump through regulatory hoops.
The challenge for the government now is how it fast-tracks such an important piece of legislation, and only after it completes a robust period of consultation with survivors.
And all this, in the midst of the ongoing pandemic.
But in this instance, change cannot come soon enough, but it must.