NSW Labor is once again calling on the Berejiklian Government to produce the long-promised NSW Sexual Assault Strategy, which is now almost two and a half years late.
This crucial strategy should be in place by now to identify measures which can improve prevention and responses to sexual assault in NSW.
In May last year, the Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault stated in a response to a question on notice by NSW Labor that “the NSW Sexual Assault Strategy would be released later this year ”. It was then slated for release in November 2017 but never came.
The Government updated their website in late December to say that the strategy would wait until “after the NSW Government has considered the final recommendations from The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse”. But there has been no comment on the highly publicised sexual offenses that have been reported in the media in the film and theatrical industries.
In December 2016, Pru Goward released the NSW Sexual Assault Strategy: Progress Report that highlighted that prevention of sexual offences was one of the main priorities of the Government. More than a year later, the Government is delaying the release of its strategy, which if effective, could prevent sexual offences on the basis that it would look at how other institutions have responded to sexual abuse and sexual harassment.
The Government’s strategy was promised in October 2015 and was to be completed within six months. It is now well over two years since this strategy was promised and the Government has failed to meet its own subsequent deadlines. It is time the Government acts to ensure that no one in NSW is subjected to sexual assault.
Quotes attributable to the Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Jenny Aitchison
“It’s disappointing the Minister has failed to release the NSW Sexual Assault Strategy as promised. Addressing the scourge of sexual assault should be one of this Government’s top priorities. We’ve seen a major push by universities on sexual assault on campus, and an increase in public awareness due to the #MeToo campaign, but the Government has still not finalised its Sexual Assault Strategy.
“The Berejiklian Government has missed all of its own deadlines and failed to prioritise the release of the NSW Sexual Assault Strategy.
“We need to ensure sexual assault services are properly resourced so that victims of sexual assault don’t have to wait hours for forensic examinations, as well as making public transport safer, encouraging higher reporting levels to police and developing appropriate responses to emerging issues. These are all issues that should be addressed in a comprehensive sexual assault strategy.
“I call on the Premier and Minister to not delay any longer and provide a definite release date for the NSW Sexual Assault Strategy.”
Quotes attributable to the Shadow Minister for Women Sophie Cotsis
“At a time when women are crying out for political leadership in relation to real action against sexual assault, the Berejiklian Government is all rhetoric and no change.
“Both Minister Goward and Minister Davies are incompetent and useless advocates at the Cabinet table on behalf of women – they have said and done nothing.
“Under this Government, Women in NSW have gone backwards in wages, services, healthcare, education, housing and through the closure of refuges.
“Change is overdue and NSW Labor will campaign for a comprehensive women's policy starting with Women at the heart of Government. Under Labor the portfolio of Women will be moved into the Department of Premier and Cabinet.”