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Accused rapists allowed to be named in Queensland as the state overhauls 'outdated' law

Accused rapists allowed to be named in Queensland as the state overhauls 'outdated' law

Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said the state used to protect a defendant's identity to avoid ruining their reputation.

Queensland is set to overhaul a rule that prevents accused rapists from being named.

The state's Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath says they will be updating legislation in October to prevent alleged sexual assault defendants from hiding behind anonymity.

They will be treated like anyone who has been charged with a crime in the Sunshine State.

At the moment, people who are charged with rape, attempted rape, assault with intent to commit rape or sexual assault are protected from having their identity revealed.

This is to ensure they don't suffer 'reputational damage' until they have to stand trial.

However, a statement from the state government called the current law 'outdated'.

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Queensland and the Northern Territory are the only states or territories in Australia where naming an alleged rapist is against the law.

The former was only going to change the rules after the government had set up an interim media guide that would explain how to report sexual violence responsibly.

Legal Aid Queensland made a submission to the inquiry and said it was important to protect victims from being inadvertently identified.

However, it has been revealed that the guide has been developed 'well ahead of schedule'.

This means the updated laws around naming an alleged sexual assault defendant can kick in from October 3.

After that date, these defendants can be publicly identified unless they seek a non-publication order from the courts and get it approved.

Attorney-General D'Ath said in a statement earlier this year: "The previous protections for accused rapists were based in part on the false assumption that women maliciously make up complaints to damage reputations.

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“These rape myths have absolutely no place in our society and our laws need to reflect this.

“Under the reforms we have introduced, those accused of rape and other prescribed sexual offences will no longer fall into a different category. They will be treated exactly the same as any other individual charged with an offence.

“It’s also our hope that the public naming of these defendants will lead to other witnesses coming forward with relevant evidence.

“The amendments we are making also better recognise the grief and trauma that families experience when an unborn child dies as a result of criminal conduct.

“I would like to recognise the tireless advocacy and fortitude from families and victims to see reform in this area.

“These reforms ensure that families who wish to hold a funeral for an unborn child can do so without being financially burdened.

“The changes strike the right balance between acknowledging the death of an unborn child as a result of criminal conduct without conflicting with the rights of a pregnant person.”

Featured Image Credit: Matt Roberts/Getty Images. China Photos/Getty Images

Topics: Australia