26.8 The way in which complaints of sexual assault progress through the criminal justice system is complex. Decisions are made at multiple points which may in turn result in a complaint not proceeding:
From the point where a victim decides to report a sexual offence to the police—and the majority never do—various decision makers exercise discretion at multiple decision points, based on a range of criteria, so that only a small proportion of all sex crimes ever reach trial and conviction … This filtering of cases begins with police decisions to record and investigate a complaint and to charge a suspect with the offence. The exercise of police discretionary powers means that they are perhaps the most significant gatekeepers to the criminal justice system.
Once the police charge a suspect, DPP lawyers review the file to determine whether the case should be prosecuted. Cases that proceed are subject to continuous reassessment because the circumstances of the case can change over time. In addition different evidentiary standards apply at each decision-making stage: the police decision to charge is based on the prima facie test, which is a more inclusive standard than the reasonable prospects test applied by the prosecutor, while the jury’s decision to convict is based on the stringent standard of beyond reasonable doubt.
26.9 In addition, in the context of sexual assault, as attrition occurs at numerous decision points throughout the criminal justice process,
poor criminal justice outcomes for sexual offences have generated a self-perpetuating cycle in which decisions made at each stage of the process—from report to prosecution—are informed by anticipation of the decision which might be made at the next stage.
26.10 These multiple decision points are summarised in the following diagram extracted from the 2004 report Prosecutorial Decisions in Adult Sexual Assault Cases: An Australian Study by Dr Denise Lievore.
 D Lievore, Prosecutorial Decisions in Adult Sexual Assault Cases: An Australian Study (2004), prepared for the Office of the Status of Women, 5 (references omitted, emphasis in original).
 M Heath, ‘Women and Criminal Law: Rape’ in P Easteal (ed) Women and the Law in Australia (2010) 88. This was also reinforced in Australian Institute of Family Studies, Submission FV 222, 2 July 2010.
 D Lievore, Prosecutorial Decisions in Adult Sexual Assault Cases: An Australian Study (2004), prepared for the Office of the Status of Women, 6.