28.134 Leaving aside the specific issue of cross-examination, some jurisdictions provide ‘alternative’ or ‘special’ arrangements for the giving of evidence by complainants or other witnesses in sexual offence proceedings. Aspects of these arrangements were discussed in Chapter 26, in relation to the use of pre-recorded evidence.
28.135 These regimes provide a range of measures dealing with the giving of contemporaneous evidence by closed circuit television (CCTV) or video-link, the use of screening to restrict contact between the witness and the defendant, and the exclusion of persons from the court. All jurisdictions also permit a complainant in sexual offence proceedings to have a support person present with them while they give evidence.
28.136 There are some variations among jurisdictions. In most jurisdictions, the giving of evidence by way of alternative or special arrangements ‘may’ be ordered by the court. In other cases, the arrangements are something to which, subject to exceptions, the complainant is entitled, or are mandatory (especially in the case of evidence given by children).
28.137 Some methods for giving evidence by complainants, such as the use of CCTV, are broadly used. However, not all jurisdictions expressly permit, for example, the use of screens or planned seating arrangements; or require evidence of the complainant in sexual offence proceedings to be given in closed court.
28.138 In the Consultation Paper, the Commissions asked whether there are significant gaps or inconsistencies among Australian jurisdictions in relation to ‘alternative’ or ‘special’ arrangements for the giving of evidence by complainants or other witnesses in sexual offence proceedings.
28.139 The Magistrates’ Court and Children’s Court of Victoria noted that, in Victoria, special hearings are not available in summary proceedings and, that in terms of consistency of policy, it is not clear why ‘child complainants in Children’s Court rape prosecutions should not be able to have their evidence visually recorded, and if necessary replayed on appeal’. The definition of a sexual offence for the purpose of accessing alternative arrangements was also criticised for not extending to all offences in which the offending conduct is of a sexual nature.
28.140 The SCAG National Working Group on Evidence is expected to include consideration of ‘alternative’ or ‘special’ arrangements for the giving of evidence by vulnerable witnesses. The Commissions do not, therefore, make any proposals for reform of these aspects of vulnerable witness protection.
 For example, Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW) s 294B; Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic) s 13.
 For example, Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW) s 294C; Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic) s 360(c).
 For example, Evidence Act 1906 (WA) s 106R; Evidence (Children and Special Witnesses) Act 2001 (Tas) s 8.
 For example, Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW) s 294B; Evidence Act 1929 (SA) s 13.
 For example, Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) s 15YI.
 For example, Tasmania.
 For example, while a court in Victoria may direct that only persons specified by the court be permitted to be present while the witness is giving evidence, in NSW, proceedings must be held in closed court when the complainant gives evidence: Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW) s 291; Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic) s 360(d).
 Consultation Paper, Question 18–13.
 Magistrates’ Court and the Children’s Court of Victoria, Submission FV 220, 1 July 2010. On 26 June 2010, the application of div 4 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic) was extended to include the summary offences of obscene, indecent, and threatening language, offensive or indecent behaviour and indecent exposure.
 Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department, Submission FV 166, 25 June 2010.