Justice Responses to Sexual Violence

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has been asked to inquire into justice responses to sexual violence in Australia.

This Inquiry forms part of the Government’s commitment to strengthen and harmonise sexual assault and consent laws, and to improve outcomes and experiences for victim-survivors in the justice system. This Inquiry will be informed by, and build on, the comprehensive inquiries and reviews previously undertaken in several Australian jurisdictions.

In August 2023, the Government hosted a National Roundtable on Justice Responses to Sexual Violence which brought together victim-survivors, representatives from the service and advocacy sectors, other experts, and Commonwealth, state and territory ministers. These discussions informed the Terms of Reference for this Inquiry.

The Terms of Reference for this Inquiry ask the ALRC to have regard to:

  • laws and frameworks about evidence, court procedures/processes and jury directions;
  • laws about consent;
  • policies, practices, decision-making and oversight and accountability mechanisms for police and prosecutors;
  • training and professional development for judges, police, and legal practitioners to enable trauma-informed and culturally safe justice responses;
  • support and services available to people who have experienced sexual violence, from the period prior to reporting to the period after the conclusion of formal justice system processes; and
  • alternatives to, or transformative approaches to, criminal prosecutions, including restorative justice, civil claims, compensations schemes, and specialist court approaches.

The Government has convened a lived-experience Expert Advisory Group comprising victim-survivors and their advocates. This Group will support the ALRC’s Inquiry, helping to centre the experiences of victim-survivors. The Group will also advise the Government on implementation of ALRC recommendations.

The ALRC recognises the inherent sensitivities involved in undertaking an inquiry relating to sexual violence. In conducting this reference, the ALRC will employ a trauma-informed and holistic approach to support all stakeholders, particularly victim-survivors of sexual violence, and to minimise re-traumatisation.

The ALRC has been asked to provide its final report to the Attorney-General by 22 January 2025.

Contact us:

For enquiries, please email jrsv@alrc.gov.au

Support services:

If you, or someone you know, need help, the following services are available:

If you are feeling unsafe or frightened, or if threats have been made against you, you should contact your local police for assistance and if you are in immediate danger, dial Triple Zero (000).

To report a crime or to contact police in a non-urgent situation, contact your local police on 131 444. Some states and territories offer online and alternative methods of reporting. If you want to report a crime anonymously, call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit www.CrimeStoppers.com.au.

The Translating and Interpreting Service is available for callers who need translating or interpreting support. To access the service call 13 14 50 and provide them with the name and phone number of the support service you would like to speak with.

For more information on local support services available, please visit: