Protecting the Anonymity of Victims of Sexual Crimes: Tasmania Law Reform Institute Final Report No 19
Cockburn, H and Zdenkowski, G and Warner, K, Protecting the Anonymity of Victims of Sexual Crimes: Tasmania Law Reform Institute Final Report No 19, Tasmanian Attorney-General's Department, Hobart, Tasmania, November (2013) [Consultants Report]
The purpose of this Report is to review the operation of s 194K of the Evidence Act 2001 (Tas) which prohibits the publication of information likely to identify the complainant in sexual offences cases. It examines the adequacy of the law in achieving its objective of affording appropriate protection to victims of crimes of sexual assault. The Report also considers the position of victims who do not seek the protection of anonymity but who prefer that their voice be heard. The prohibition also applies to information likely to identify other witnesses in sexual offences cases, with the exception of the defendant. Although in some instances the observations and recommendations made may apply equally to other witnesses in sexual offences trials, the principal focus of this report is on the victims of sexual crimes. A related matter that falls outside the terms of reference for this Report is the extent to which authorised reports of cases, such as the Supreme Courtís published Comments on Passing Sentence, are edited to ensure compliance with the requirements of s 194K. In responding to IP 18, Womenís Legal Service Tasmania noted that the details contained in these can lead to identification whereas media reports are edited to avoid that likelihood. Detailed consideration of these issues is beyond the scope of this inquiry, although it may be something that the Court may like to pursue. The Report examines whether the current law requires clarification both of its scope and terminology, whether its purposes might be better achieved either by the introduction of additional features into s 194K or by the creation of a new statutory scheme, and whether it strikes the appropriate balance between protecting victims of sexual assault and the paramount public interest in open justice.