Back to Top

Privacy and protection

There are laws and procedures in place to ensure that victims of sexual assault may have privacy and protection.

Closed Courts      

As a victim of a sexual assault, the courtroom can be closed to members of the public who are not directly involved in the case.

You can ask the prosecutor to make a request to the Judge or Magistrate that the case, or at least your evidence, be given in a closed court, that is, where members of the public are excluded. When you are giving evidence, you do need to tell the court in precise detail about the sexual assault including the explicit and detailed parts of what happened, as you did when you made your statement to the police. Note that children's evidence must be given in a closed court.

The prosecutor can also ask that a support person such as a family member, friend or counsellor remain with you while you give evidence, whether in the courtroom or in the private witness room. A decision to close the court and to allow a support person to remain with you is decided by the magistrate or judge.

Screens

If you are a victim of a sexual assault and you choose to go into the courtroom to give your evidence, the Judge or Magistrate can allow for a screen to be placed in front of the accused person so that you can't see them whilst you are in the witness stand.

Non-publication orders

A Judge or Magistrate can prohibit the publication of any details about your case. The law prohibits publication of your name and address, or any other information, which might identify you and states that details of children cannot be given.

If you choose to give evidence at court, your name or any other details that identify you, are not allowed to be published or broadcast in the media.

In some cases, the Judge can also make an order stopping reporters from telling anyone about all or any part of the evidence. If the media approaches you or you are thinking about talking to the media, it is very important that you talk to the prosecutor first.

The Victims Services website provides information about dealing with the media.