Criminal justice research to inform upcoming public hearing

Criminal justice research to inform upcoming public hearing

The Royal Commission has released three papers on the criminal justice system ahead of a national two week public hearing commencing on 15 March.

The papers, relating to tendency, coincidence and joint trials in the Australian context as well as admissibility and use in foreign jurisdictions, are among a suite of papers the Royal Commission has released today as part of its larger program of work in the criminal justice area.

Royal Commission CEO Phillip Reed says the papers, comprising primary research, internal background papers, legal advice and literature reviews, will inform the Royal Commission’s ongoing criminal justice work.

“These papers into criminal justice issues will assist relevant stakeholders, be they prosecution, defence, police or survivors, to understand and navigate the complexities involved when considering child sexual abuse in institutional contexts,” Mr Reed said.

“In particular, the advice provided by Tim Game SC, the research provided by Associate Professor David Hamer and the background paper prepared by Royal Commission staff on similar fact and propensity evidence and joint trials, will be of immediate interest to those attending the forthcoming public hearing.”

 The Royal Commission has released the following papers as part of its criminal justice program of work:
  • “The admissibility, and use of tendency, coincidence and relationship evidence in child sexual assault prosecutions in a selection of foreign jurisdictions”, by Associate Professor David Hamer

  •  “Tendency, coincidence and joint trials”, Advice prepared for the Royal Commission by Tim Game SC, Julia Roy and Georgia Huxley

  •  “Specialist Prosecution Units and Courts: A review of the literature”, by Patrick Parkinson

  • “A systematic review of the efficacy of specialist police investigative units in responding to child sexual abuse”, by Nina Westera

  • “The use and effectiveness of restorative justice in criminal justice systems following child sexual abuse or comparable harms”, by Dr Jane Bolitho

  • “Brief review of contemporary sexual offence and child sexual abuse legislation in Australia: 2015 update”, by Hayley Boxal and Georgina Fuller of the Australian Institute of Criminology

  • “A statistical analysis of sentencing for child sexual abuse in institutional contexts”, by Dr Karen Gelb

  • “Internal Background Paper- Similar Fact and Propensity Evidence and Joint Trials in Australian Jurisdictions” prepared by Royal Commission staff.

The public hearing into criminal justice issues will be held over two weeks from 15 March – 24 March.

The first week of the public hearing will inquire into the experiences of survivors of child sexual abuse in the criminal justice system where the accused was the subject of allegations by more than one complainant.

The second week will examine how victims with communication difficulties, such as very young children and people with disability, can be assisted in the criminal justice system.

Recent cases involving child sexual abuse in institutions will also be examined during the hearing.

The research reports can be found here.

The Advice and the Background Paper can be found here.