Associate Professor David Wells, one of Australia’s leading forensic medical experts, has said that the criminal justice system consistently fails victims of sex crime with many cases not reaching court.
Dr Wells said that ”there is something fundamentally wrong with the way we treat the majority of rape victims with most never getting their day in court”. He said that often it is the intellectually and psychologically vulnerable who are the victims of sex crimes and rarely receive justice.
Dr Wells said there should be a system of conciliation where cases that fall short of beyond reasonable doubt could be examined. He said that victims often just want the crime against them acknowledged.
The recent processes of deinstitutionalising psychiatric patients had also had a significant impact with people with mental health issues being grossly over-represented as both victims of crime and offenders.
In 2011 police came into contact with 5320 people who were so disturbed by a mental health issue that they needed to be taken to hospital. Police figures for 2010 to 2011 showed 2173 confirmed cases where physical restraint, capsicum spray, stun guns, batons or firearms were used against someone with a psychological health issue.
If you have been a victim of sexual abuse or other serious crime call 1800 000 055 or (03) 9415 9492 or go to www.victimsofcrime.com.au or email firstname.lastname@example.org for support & assistance.