Taskforce to examine sexual violence and women as offenders

The Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce has announced that it will focus on the key themes of sexual violence and issues affecting women as offenders when examining women and girl’s experiences in the criminal justice system.

The Taskforce selected the two themes following consultation with the Queensland community about which of the many aspects of women’s experiences in the criminal justice system it should prioritise in its limited timeframe.

The Taskforce has published the submissions it received from organisation and professionals as part of this consultation on its website.

The Chair of the Taskforce, the Honourable Margaret McMurdo AC, said that examining women and girls’ experience as victim/survivors of sexual violence was topical and important work for the Queensland community.

‘The Taskforce has a pivotal opportunity to listen to victim-survivor voices to better understand the complex reasons why most sexual assaults are not reported to police—or, when they are, why so many of them don't result in a conviction,’ Ms McMurdo said.  

‘We will be examining the myriad of factors that prevent so many sexual assault victim survivors from reporting in the first place, and how the cases of those who do complain can be dealt with in the best possible way.’

Ms McMurdo said the consultative nature of the Taskforce and the diverse experience of its members offers a unique opportunity to better understand the barriers victims face and how the system can best serve them while ensuring those charged are tried fairly and, if convicted, held accountable.

‘We found from the submissions we received about domestic and family violence that personal experiences and perspectives provide a wealth of new and valuable information about what is working and what isn’t,’  Ms McMurdo said.  

‘We have already received over 130 insightful submissions from brave women who are victim-survivors of sexual assault, including within intimate partner relationships. We hope to receive a lot more.

‘I encourage all women and girls who wish to share their experience with the Taskforce to do so. Every submission will be carefully considered, securely stored and, where requested, kept confidential.’

The Taskforce will also examine the experiences of women and girls as offenders, an area that the Taskforce considers has received insufficient focus in Queensland until now.

‘We want to examine why women and girls come in to contact with the criminal justice system as offenders, their journey through that system, sentencing options and the prison experience,’ Ms McMurdo said.

‘We will also look at how wider issues, such as colonisation, diversity, trauma, disability, disadvantage and culture, values and beliefs within the justice system, impact on women and girl offenders.

‘In examining these themes we hope to learn how the criminal justice system can better serve the community’s interests.’ The Taskforce will release a discussion paper in early 2022 exploring the selected themes in detail.

Following a three-month extension to reporting timeframes, the Taskforce will deliver its report on women and girls’ experiences in the criminal justice system in June 2022.

To read the submissions from organisations and professions responding to this aspect of the Taskforce’s consultation, or to make a general submission to the Taskforce, go to

*If anything in this statement has brought up concerns, contact DVConnect Womensline on 1800 811 811 (24 hours, 7 days per week), Sexual Assault Helpline on 1800 010 120 (7.30am to 11.30pm, 7 days), or Lifeline on 13 11 44 (24 hours, 7 days).

Additioal notes

  • The Taskforce will focus its examination of women and girls’ experiences across the criminal justice system throughout the remainder of its term on:
    • In relation to victim/survivor experiences of sexual violence:
      • community understanding of sexual offending and barriers to reporting
      • reporting, investigating and charging of sexual offences
      • legal and court processes for sexual offences
    • In relation to women and girls as offenders:
      • why women and girls come into contact with the criminal justice system as defendants/offenders and engagement with police and the legal system
      • women and girls experience of imprisonment/detention and release in the community
  • When considering these matters, the Taskforce will consider a number of cross-cutting issues including the over-representation of First Nations women and girls; intersecting disadvantage; recognising and responding to trauma including for victims of domestic and family violence; the appropriateness of existing governance and accountability mechanisms; workforce capability and diversity; impacts of resourcing and investment including value for money; protecting and promoting human rights and the need to achieve just outcomes by balancing the interests of victims and accused persons.

Contact information

Name: Hayley Carter

Phone: 0737389026