There were some especially turbulent days throughout Australia in March as Aussie women banded together to fight for gender equality and reform as a part of the March 4 Justice protest.
While the message of a lack of equity regarding the treatment of women reporting sexual assaults and domestic violence is not new, this movement stems from a controversial decision coming out of the nation’s capital.
Scott Morrison’s Refusal to Reassign Attorney-General Christian Porter
Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison’s refusal to reassign Attorney-General Christian Porter following historical rape allegations weighed heavily on the crowd who took to the streets.
Prime Minister Morrison’s comments came after police investigators in New South Wales determined that there was insufficient admissible evidence to charge Attorney-General Porter and proceed with a trial.
The events surrounding the Attorney-General dredged up concerns about sexual assault statistics in Australia. A report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare offers some unsettling information.
- One out of every five women over 15 years of age have been sexually assaulted or threatened. This amounts to approximately 1.7 million women
- One in six women 15 years old or older has experienced physical and sexual abuse from a cohabiting partner. The total number of these women is roughly 1.6 million
- On average, police file 52 reports of sexual assaults against women every day (approximately two sexual assaults an hour)
- 85 per cent of Australian women report experiencing sexual harassment
There are several groups of women who have a greater risk of becoming sexual abuse victims.
These groups include:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women
- Young women
- Pregnant women
- Women who have few or no social contacts
- Women caring for children
- Women with disabilities
- Women experiencing financial hardships
- Women who witnessed or endured domestic violence as children
Highly Emotional Debates
The recent accusations led to highly emotional debates about the treatment women receive as complainants in the Australian Justice System. Prevailing wisdom dictates that sexual assault and violence against women are not a woman’s issue but rather a human issue.
The recent March 4 Justice protests aim to call attention to the recent events surrounding the accusations against Attorney General Porter. However, there are other goals that organisers of the protests have in mind as well.
Protest leaders have numerous changes they want to see come to fruition.
Among these are:
- Mandatory gendered violence and sexual assault training for all federal MPs and their subordinates
- An increase in the amount of government spending earmarked for gendered violence
- Enactment of a federal Gender Equality Act
- Mandatory investigations into sexual assault allegations by members of Parliament
What is Our Stance?
The scope of these crimes is troubling to all Australians. As members of the legal profession, the Lawson Legal team commits to ensuring all citizens receive fair treatment under the law. Regardless of power, position, or accusations, a defendant has the right to a fair trial with the assumption of innocence.
Should you or someone you know find yourself accused, do not hesitate to contact Lawson Legal. We strive to make the law work for everyone.