Issued: Thursday, 31 March
More than 50 new Children’s Champions begin work at the NSW District Court in Sydney and Newcastle today to improve the justice experience for child sexual assault victims, Attorney General Gabrielle Upton announced.
“Every child who enters the justice system should be treated with care and compassion,” Ms Upton said.
“Children’s Champions will provide a stronger voice for child sexual assault victims from the moment they are interviewed by police to the end of their evidence in court.
“These professionals will facilitate child sexual assault victims’ interactions with police and courts, ensuring they better understand the language and information.”
Children’s Champions are part of the NSW Government’s innovative three-year pilot designed to reduce stress and trauma for victims of child sexual assault.
The pilot will permit pre-recording of the victim’s evidence, including cross-examination, so they are not re-traumatised by having to repeat their story at a trial.
The Champions are professionals recruited from psychology, social work, speech pathology and occupational therapy backgrounds.
In addition, Indigenous Children’s Champions will be recruited to provide specialist support for children from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds.
The NSW Government is committed to fast, fair and accessible justice, and has introduced a range of measures to better protect and deliver justice for child sexual assault victims, including two specialist District Court Judges who now hear child sexual assault matters across the state.
In addition over the past 12 months, the maximum sentence for sexual intercourse with a child under 10 increased from 25 years to life imprisonment, and an additional 13 child sexual assault offences have been included in the Standard Non-Parole Period Scheme.