Grace Tame has shared a letter sent to her by Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus about the Federal and State Governments’ plans to take more action on family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia.
The country’s Attorneys-General met on Friday for the first time under the new government where they collectively endorsed a five-year Work Plan — the first of its kind in Australia — to make the country’s criminal justice response to sexual assault stronger and more informed.
Dreyfus thanked Tame for her tireless work, support and advocacy for survivors of sexual abuse through the Grace Tame Foundation and said the five-year plan would focus on three “national priority areas”. These are strengthening legal frameworks, building justice sector capability and supporting greater research and collaboration.
“Under the Work Plan, the Australia, state and territory governments will take individual and collective action on the important issue of criminal justice responses to sexual assault,” he wrote.
The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) and the Attorney-General’s department will begin a national review of the definitions of consent and broader definitions of sexual assault and child sexual abuse including stealthing and grooming.
Dreyfus credited Tame’s address to the Attorneys-General in November 2021 as the driving force behind the national review.
“At this meeting, you noted the importance of national consistency of wording relating to ‘persistent sexual abuse of a child’, legislation relating to the age of consent, and the definition of ‘sexual intercourse’,” he wrote.
“The AIC review would consider this legislation, as well as a number of other additional definitions, offences, aggravating circumstances, defences and maximum and minimum penalties in relation to sexual assault and child sexual abuse, including online conduct and preparatory behaviour such as grooming.”
Tame thanked the Attorneys-General for listening to herself and other survivors and noted that this national-level action is the result of years of hard work from survivors and advocates.
“Thank you, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, for taking the issue of sexual abuse seriously at a national level,” she wrote.
“Lived experience is shaping history.”
Help is available.
If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.
If you’d like to speak to someone about domestic violence, please call the 1800Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online.
Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.