24 Jul 2009

Court changes intended to help reporting rates of sex crimes

8:36 am on 24 July 2009

Justice Minister Simon Power says changes to the way sexual violence cases are handled in courts should help improve the reporting rates of sexual crimes.

Mr Power is proposing that a positive definition of sexual consent be introduced to law, which clarifies that consent must be genuinely and freely given.

He says the current reporting rate of sexual offending stands at somewhere between 9% - 12% of actual incidents and says that needs to improve.

Mr Power also wants the Law Commission to look into different ways for courts to handle sexual violence trials, and for a complainant's sexual history to put before the court only with permission from the judge.

Mr Power says he would like public debate about the suggestions.