Friday, 28 September 2012

Abduction, Rape and Murder

Abduction, rape and murder are our worst fears.  Jill Meagher's murder will leave many women feeling our streets are inherently unsafe. Jill's murder is a tragedy.  It is an unbelievable disaster for her husband, family, friends and collegues and leaves the wider community bewildered.  But this was an opportunistic brutal crime.  Women should not live in fear of stranger assaults.  We should be aware of our circumstances - walking down dark lanes, where we park our car, looking out for friends when they drink too much - but we should not start believing this is an escalation in violence against women.  Once we retreat from public spaces in fear the violent men win. 

Monday, 17 September 2012

Sexual Assault Service System

Having been in the sexual assault field for over two decades I often despair about the gaps and deficiencies in the system.  Then I read an article about the situation in other countries (The Saturday Age 15/9/12) and realise that for all its problems we have a situation where victims can go to the Police and feel confidence that their complaint will be passed onto a specialist squad.Complaints against powerful and high profile men are dealt with in the same way as other complaints.  With all the reforms that have taken place over the past decade we have reason to be proud of our approach to sexual assault in Victoria.  This does not mean that there have not been dreadful miscarriages of justice in the past.  Clearly the current Government inquiry into the sexual abuse of childen in religious and other non Government institutions is uncovering many dreadful situations that have been pushed under the carpet and ignored. 

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Welcome Increase in Victoria Police Crime Statistics

The new statistics released by Victoria Police show a 43.3 percent increase in the number of violent family crimes reported to their members.  This is obviously a shocking percentage but also a welcome sign of an increase in reporting.  It is hard to believe that our society has suddenly become more violent for some family members.  However, it does appear that the millions of dollars spent on family violence and sexual assault services over the past six or seven years to increase reporting has started to pay results.The only negative side of the increase in reports has been the blow out in demand for follow up services, including counselling, leading to increased waiting times which make it difficult for victims who need assistance in a timely fashion.