It’s my story. It’s your case, but it’s my story.
Interview Study: Exploring justice system experiences of complainants in sexual offence matters report released.
On Monday 14 August, the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) released the report, It’s my story. It’s your case, but it’s my story, the first piece of research of its kind in NSW in 27 years. This report was delivered by the CIJ, in close collaboration with KPMG and highlights the end-to-end challenges of the legal process for victim-survivors of sexual offences, as well as the end-to-end opportunities for improvement.
The research involved consultations with over 100 system stakeholders, as well as interviews with 34 victim-survivors who, importantly, are quoted in their own words throughout the report. The research found that when people come forward to report a sexual offence, they do so to have the harm they’ve experienced acknowledged and, most importantly, to protect others. Instead, many felt pushed aside and forgotten from the system – enduring what one participant described as whole ‘new trauma’ from which some said they were unlikely to recover.
These challenges are not limited to NSW, and we know that similar experiences are shared by victim-survivors across the country. As such, the recommendations made in the report, which include the need for a single, consistent support contact for victim-survivors, training for police and court personnel to improve their understanding around issues such as the impact trauma, and the opportunity presented by restorative justice models, have implications for all state and territories.
Because of the scope and impact of this research, it has gained significant media attention since its release. The CIJ’s Associate Director and the Lead Investigator of this study, Elena Campbell has been quoted in a number of articles and on the ABC’s The Drum in the recent days. Elena was also an expert panel member on improving the experience of sexual violence complainants in the justice system at the BOCSAR Applied Research in Crime and Justice Conference 2023.
The CIJ and the entire research involved with this project would like to thank each and everyone of the victim-survivors who participated in this research for their strength and generosity in sharing their story and would like to acknowledge the very real and immense positive impact they are having.