Sexual assault trials across NSW are permeated by outdated myths and stereotypes about how “genuine victims” should act, dress, and fight off their attackers, exposing complainants to caustic and distressing court hearings, research has found.
The report found NSW’s courtrooms are “disconnected” from the state’s four-decade attempt to reform justice for sexual violence survivors.
The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research will on Thursday release a peer-reviewed report into the experience of complainants in the NSW District Court completed by the University of Wollongong and University of NSW.
“This study lays bare the confronting reality of how caustic the trial process can be for those seeking justice in response to sexual violence,” BOCSAR executive director Jackie Fitzgerald said.
Statistics show only an estimated 16 per cent of Australians who experienced sexual violence in 2021-22 contacted police within 12 months, and more than one-third of recent rape trials ended with a guilty verdict.