Scarlet Alliance response to Recommendations 50 and 51 of the Victorian Law Reform Commission’s Report into Improving the Justice System Response to Sexual Offences on March 2, 2022.
“Sex workers face unique risks in relation to sexual offences and face serious and systemic barriers to reporting and prosecuting sexual violence. These barriers include social and institutional attitudes towards sex workers, a lack of clarity in relation to the implementation of the legislative framework decriminalising sex work, and the ongoing criminalisation of some forms of sex work in Victoria.
Access to redress for sexual violence will always be prohibitive for sex workers while police retain a role in regulation of the sex industry. In order to be effective, a response to sexual violence must include the removal of these laws and ensure the complete decriminalisation of sex work.
Despite the context of legislative reform, sex work stigma and myths continue to permeate attitudes in the criminal justice system, including among prosecutors, defence lawyers, police and the judiciary, creating a traumatising environment during engagement with the system, which deters sex workers from accessing legal remedies.”