The Invisible Crime: Are We Failing Victims of Sexual Violence? is an award-winning multimedia feature documentary made in 2019 by a team of investigative and data journalists from the Age and Sydney Morning Herald. The documentary explores why sexual assault is under-reported and examines the myriad barriers to successful prosecutions against assailants. It provides data-driven context on how and why the legal system so often fails to deliver justice to victims.
In this conversation, hosted by Age journalist Nicole Precel, we’ll pick up where the documentary left off, discussing the fundamental principles that underpin our criminal law. How are sexual-assault victims disadvantaged by the onus of proof?
We’ll also take a hard look at the concept of consent and examine how social attitudes towards it are changing. How do legal definitions of consent vary between states and territories – and how can we get better at teaching, and defining, consent in our everyday lives?
This discussion includes topics that some attendees may find confronting. Audience questions from this event will not be recorded and published.
Presented in partnership with AIDC and the Age, with special support from Google News Initiative.
Nicole Precel is an award-winning journalist, film maker and photographer with a passion for news and storytelling. She works as a video journalist and reporter at the Age.
Previously, Nicole has worked for Fairfax Media, Al Jazeera English, News Corp, Current TV, SBS2, BBC London, International Federation of Journalists, Marie Claire UK, AsiaLife HCMC, United Nations Population Fund and Star News Group.
She is also the co-founder of social enterprise Co-Ground, which runs a social enterprise cafe in Melbourne, an events company and supports education and livelihood projects in the Asia-Pacific. In 2015, the organisation won an Australian anti-poverty award and in 2016 a JetStar Flying Start Grant.
Greg Barns is a barrister and writer. He practices in the areas of criminal law, administrative law and family law and is a member of the Tasmanian, Victorian and WA Bars. Greg is a graduate of Monash University (BA/LLB) and spent over a decade working as a political adviser to a number of state and federal ministers and premiers. He ran the 1999 Republic Referendum campaign and was Chair of the Australian Republican Movement from 2000–02.
Katrina Marson is a criminal lawyer with particular experience in sexual offences and family violence.
She worked as a criminal lawyer for the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions from 2013 to 2018, including in the family violence and sexual offences units. She was named the ACT Young Lawyer of the Year in 2016 and sat on the Governance Committee of the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre. She has published articles in law reform and policy, particularly in relation to sexualised and family violence.
Rena is the co-founder of Empowered Together and Lawyer at Moores. Empowered Together is a youth led not-for-profit focused on the primary prevention of sexual violence by running workshops with secondary students. The Empowered Together team has educated thousands of students on their rights and responsibilities around consent and sexting.