Geelong rape victim pleads with Premier Daniel Andrews to protect minors in court


Geelong rape victim pleads with Premier Daniel Andrews to protect minors in court
  1. Geelong rape victim pleads with Premier Daniel Andrews to protect minors in court
    theage.com.au
    The family of a teenage girl who was the victim of a shocking alleged rape is pleading with Premier Daniel Andrews to protect child victims from further trauma in…
    Health

The family of a teenage girl who was allegedly raped in Geelong is pleading with Premier Daniel Andrews to protect child victims from further trauma in court.

Amy*, then 14, was allegedly raped in the Geelong suburb of St Albans Park in the early hours of November 1, 2015.  

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Amy with her parents Sandy and Tony. Amy with her parents Sandy and Tony.  Photo: Darrian Traynor

Three men – brothers Kevin Andrew Wild, Allan Mark Wild and Brodie Mark Wild – were charged with multiple counts of rape and related offences, and committed to stand trial. They pleaded not guilty to all charges.

But last month Amy, now 16, and her parents decided she was too distressed to undergo a court appearance and made the agonising decision to discontinue the trial. A discontinuance of prosecution does not amount to an acquittal.

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"My sister is traumatised by what happened and would have had to relive it again on the stand, knowing every word would be scrutinised and held against her," Amy's older sister said in a statement.

The outcome sent shockwaves through senior levels of government and the justice system.

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Now Amy and her family are calling on the Premier to consider legal reforms to protect child victims in gruelling, adversarial trials.

"Not enough girls come forward and tell the police about their experiences because of how pointless it seems to be," Amy said.

"I hope that one day very soon this changes, so what happened to me never happens to another girl."

Amy's mother, Sandy*, said her daughter was warned by sympathetic police officers and lawyers from the Office of Public Prosecutions that the trial experience would be "brutal".

The teenager would have faced three to five days of cross-examination.

Amy's family want the government to consider allowing minors in sex assault cases to be cross-examined in front of an experienced judge, or panel of judges, rather than in front of a jury.

The complexity of evidence and rules associated with proving reasonable doubt can be difficult for juries to understand, they say.  

The family also want mandatory restrictions to prevent gratuitous details of sexual assaults on minors being made public.

Graphic descriptions of the alleged rapes were aired in open court during bail hearings, and published in the media. Suppression orders were later applied, but damage had been done.

"The media stuff was humiliating," says Sandy. "I've never seen her so low. It's heartbreaking to watch your vivacious child suffering."

Amy's father, Tony*, feels deep anger the alleged rapists did not undergo a trial.

"We were amazed and disappointed at how difficult it was going to be to get the best outcome for our daughter," he said.

Amy's family also wants the introduction of "intermediaries", advocates such as those used in England and Wales who support vulnerable victims through the court system.

On Sunday it was announced that alleged rape victims in the UK would no longer face cross-examination liv…

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