Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Restorative Justice and Sex Offences

Greg Barnes, a barrister and director of the Australian Lawyers Alliances, raised the issue in The Age today about the possibility of legislating for an alternative system involving mediation and therapeutic justice for sex offences.  There are times at SECASA when victims have asked for a family conference with an offending family member.In several countries there are various types of mediated approaches for sex offences.  It would not be a step forward to legislate for these types of conferences based on the seriousness of the offence.  The problem with categorising offences into serious and non serious is that it ignores the compexities of the situation when the abuse is intra familial.  Whilst supporting an additional set of options for victims SECASA would not support a mandatory mediated system based on penetrative or non penetrative offences.  As we can see from the current distress around the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry Into The Handling of Sexual Abuse of Children in Religious and Other Non Government Organisation and the recently establish Royal Commission victims have very strong views on what should happen to offenders.  Any alternate system need to be driven by victims. 

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Sex Abuse Inquiries

We know it has been difficult for many people to give evidence before the Victorian
 Parliamentary Inquiry into the handling of child abuse by religious and other non government organisations.  It would be sensible if those who would like their evidence, which they gave to the Victorian Inquiry, passed onto the Royal Commission could have that done for them. Obviously some people would like the opportunity to give evidence again.  For those for whom this will be an onerous task it would be good if the State and Federal authorities worked out how transcripts and submissions could be passed between them.

Friday, 11 January 2013


It is tempting when faced with heinous crimes to want to see the perpetrators punished in a way that makes them suffer like the victim.  One of the criteria by which we can judge a democracy is how they deal with their worst criminals.  SECASA works with the consequences of many violent crimes.  We support people through their recovery and healing. We can understand why some victims and their families and friends might want extreme penalties for offenders.  However, we will all suffer if we allow extreme crimes such as Jill Meagher’s murder, the young rape victim in India’s death or a child’s rape to be used to support calls to bring back the death penalty or excessive penalties that allow no opportunity for rehabilitation.