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Police must improve their handling of sexual abuse cases

22 May 2014

Police must improve their handling of sexual abuse cases

Police inaction over correcting their own mistakes when dealing with the media over the Roast Busters case must not happen again, Green Party women’s affairs spokesperson Jan Logie said today.

The Independent Police Complaints Authority (IPCA) report on the Roast Busters case considered the credibility of the police force has been damaged by its handling of the Roast Busters and blamed a "collective breakdown in communication" for the errors.

“The public’s confidence in the Police has not only been harmed due to a poor communications strategy but due to their inaction on cases such as these,” Ms Logie said.

“Once the full Police investigation into the Roast Busters case is completed, we need to know why the Police did not initially pursue the serious complaints that they have received and what action the Police will take to prevent this happening in future.

“The system did not work for those who made the initial complaints.

“The way the Police dealt with this case after it was brought to the public’s attention via the media was very poorly handled.

“The initial comments made to the media at the start of the Roast Busters investigation blamed young women for not being ‘brave enough’ and coming forth.

“It is vital the justice system works for victims regardless of their so-called level of bravery.

“Not only was the comment insensitive but it was also untrue.

“It is critical that we don't blame victims even inadvertently.

“There needs to be a fundamental culture change in the way Police handle sexual assault reporting.

“There also needs to be the political will to deliver better solutions for those who take serious complaints involving sexual assault to the Police.

“The mistakes that have occurred in regard to the Roast Busters case, so far, might not have happened if the recommendation of connecting people who contact the police about sexual violence with specialist advisors had been in place.

“This was one of the recommendations in the Law Commission’s report on alternative pre-trial and trial processes,” Ms Logie said.


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