Recent rape allegations sparked nationwide protests in Australia, with tens of thousands of women marching to call for gender equality and an end to sexual violence
Recent rape allegations have sparked nationwide protests in Australia

The sexual assault and domestic violence survivors in Queensland may choose to give pre-recorded testimony to avoid testifying a multiple times, a new bill presented in the state Parliament on Tuesday has outlined.

The bill was introduced by the Women's Safety and Justice Taskforce as part of the third major tranche of legislative amendments aimed at improving the justice system response in the domestic, family and sexual violence cases.

Quoting attorney general, Yvette D'Ath, The Guardian reported the taskforce has suggested nine amendments, including improving witness protection arrangements for sexual assault victims during the court process. The court may still order the witness to appear in court "if they had given evidence in the ordinary way ... and if it would be in the interests of justice."

The draft legislation also recommends permitting the witness to testify remotely and demand the presence of a person, who can give emotional support. And, the prosecutors may call experts to debunk rape myths, such as how survivors "might be expected to behave at the time of or after the offence has been committed."

The bill recommends creating a new Position of Authority Offence to protect children aged 16 or 17 to monitor and prevent sexual interactions with adults who have them under their care, supervision or authority.

"Some people in positions of care, supervision or authority may exploit that vulnerability, taking advantage of the power imbalance to prey on young people and keep them silent," D'Ath said. "While Queensland's legal age of consent is 16, these new laws will provide added protection to help protect children aged 16 and 17 who are under the care, supervision or authority of others."