The Tasmania Law Reform Institute in Australia has released an issues paper on Protecting the Anonymity of Victims of Sexual Crimes
"Victims of sexual crimes often wish to remain anonymous, or at the very least not have people they know, or the wider community know about the fact that they were assaulted. Traditionally, one result of this has been reluctance by victims to report sexual assault. Partly in an effort to encourage victims to come forward, as well as wishing to respect a victim’s wish for privacy, the law has introduced restrictions on the reporting (predominantly by the media) of the identity of victims. In other words, when reporting on police investigations, court proceedings, and so on, the media are not allowed to disclose the identity of a victim of sexual assault. In Tasmania this rule is primarily found in s 194K of the Evidence Act 2001 (Tas). While this rule may seem straightforward, in practice difficulties can arise in determining exactly what information can and cannot be released. This was recently exemplified in the Tasmanian case concerning the prostitution of a 12-year-old girl by her mother and her mother’s friend, Gary John Devine. Neither the girl’s nor her mother’s name was reported in the media, yet the reporting of Devine’s name, as well as some other details relating to the case, could have led many people, particularly those who knew Devine, the mother or the girl, to identify her (...)"
"This Issues Paper will give detailed consideration to the background and policy behind the rule, how it has been interpreted and applied in the past, how it should be applied in the future, whether legislative reform is desirable to aid in its application, and if so, what kind of reform is appropriate"
The paper compares the law in Tasmania with the situation in a number of other jurisdictions including other parts of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Labels: comparative and foreign law, criminal law, government_Australia, law commissions