A new law in the Australian state of Victoria has people in an uproar on Aug.26, 2020. Victims who publicly talk about their sexual assaults now face up to four months in prison for doing so.
Injustice for the Victims
These changes to the state’s Judicial Proceedings Reports Act were made discretely back in February. Anyone who circulates information that leads to identifying any victim of assault will be charged.
Unfortunately, this law does not protect the victims themselves from talking about it. This means if the victim speaks of their own experiences — in any manner — they can be placed in jail for up to four months.
People Stand for Victims Rights
The only exception to this law is if the victim changes their name in the story they tell. Since then the campaign #LetUsSpeak has been demanding the amendment of this restraint. Most people feel this law protects the perpetrators of crimes.
Those who live in Victoria feel this law would leave all survivors unable to receive the help they need if they can not speak of what happened to them. According to the amendment, the only way the victim can publish their identity is at the behest of the court system itself.
This means that regardless of the victim’s age they would have to publicly state their name if a judge orders. The strict law prohibits the victims from going on TV, radio, or even text about their situation.
If a victim wants to speak about their assaults must go back to court to receive permission to do so. This means the victims have to pay out of their own pocket the court fees to receive said permission. These court fees can cost the surviving victims thousands of dollars.
Many feel this is just another violation against the victims. A fundraising page has been set up to possibly amend this amendment. So far the page has raised over $30,000 according to campaigner Nina Funnell.
Written by Sheena Robertson
CNN: Sexual assault survivors face jail in Australia if they publicly identify themselves under new law
Featured Image Courtesy of W. Darrol Houser Jr’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of Jason Tong’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License