New sexual abuse law changes suggestions tip of the iceberg - victims' advocate

New law changes to improve the justice system for sexual abuse victims is just the tip of the iceberg, a victims advocate says.

Ruth Money said the current system is hard on victims, forcing them to be retraumatised again during the court process.

"A lot of the survivors that I work with talk about the court actually being like or worse than the original rape or the original sexual abuse, that's how bad it is."

The proposed changes were announced on Tuesday and will include tighter rules around evidence about a complainant's sexual history to protect them from unnecessary questioning. 

Sexual violence victims would also be given the right to choose how they give evidence, with the option of audio visual link or pre-recorded video, to avoid seeing their alleged attacker. 

It also suggests evidence given at trial could be recorded so it can be replayed at retrial instead of having to be given again, with overall increased protections for victims giving their impact statements. 

In addition, more certainty would be given to judges to intervene in unfair or inappropriate questing in court, and to "address common myths and misconceptions about sexual violence". 

Money told Newshub more needs to be done.

"Certainly legislation around name suppression and how to lift that or not get that if you don't want it, adversarial versus inquisitorial processes."

She said knowing the culture around sexual abuse makes it easier to understand the victims and what they go through.

"When you come to sexual violence and you understand the culture around it, the power imbalance, it's very difficult for survivors, male and female."

Newshub.

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