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Why do sexual assault survivors face so many barriers to justice?

Aİle içi şiddetin neden olduğu sorunlardan biri de ağır depresyon. Source: iStockphoto

There's been a renewed focus on sexual assault in recent months after Grace Tame was named Australian of the Year, and former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins spoke publicly about an alleged rape she endured while working at Parliament House. Take a look at why survivors face so many barriers to justice and what could be done to change that.

Dr Jonathan Crowe is a Professor of Law at Bond University and Director of Research for the Rape and Sexual Assault Research and Advocacy initiative.

He says one of the reasons reporting rates are so low is fear of not being respected or believed by police.

"That has to do with broader cultural issues around things like rape myths - ideas which are false about what a real rape or sexual assault looks like, which may not match up with many victims' experiences. Beyond that, I think there's some awareness in the community that not only are reporting rates low for rape and sexual assault, but also conviction rates are low, so women and men and others who are victims of these sorts of assaults may be thinking to themselves, 'is it really worth reporting when nothing may come of it in the end?'."

Dr Mary Iliadis is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Deakin University.

She says that experience can be exacerbated for survivors who need access to culturally specific services.

"Different community groups, for example, individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds might choose not to report experiences of sexual violence for a range of reasons, and this might also include fearing the perpetrator, but also not wanting to leave the perpetrator and not wanting to compromise the current family structure or the relationship with that perpetrator as well."

Listeners seeking sexual assault information or support can contact 1-800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732

 

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