What does the Anna Stubblefield case teach us about sentencing and sexual assault?

A former chair of philosophy at Rutgers University had sex with a man who can’t speak. The resulting court battle raised questions about when and why suffering matters in sentencing — and Anna Stubblefield went to jail.

Stubblefield had slept with a man known only by the pseudonym DJ, who has cerebral palsy and to this day has never spoken.

That’s not to say he can’t communicate, though it’s not to say he can, either — that’s what is at issue.

Read more here 

An end to direct questioning by abusive partners in family law proceedings

Women’s Legal Services Australia, 10th May 2017

Women’s Legal Services Australia (WLSA) welcomes the Australian Government’s announcement that it will be introducing legislation to amend the Family Law Act 1975 to prohibit the direct cross-examination of victims of violence in family law proceedings.

Being directly questioned in court by an abusive ex-partner is not only traumatising it also affects the victim’s ability to give evidence.  This can prevent important information being made available to the court to protect children from violence in family law proceedings. Ending the cross-examination by violent ex-partners is a practical and important step to empower victims to give evidence without fear.

The Government has also announced additional funding for Community Legal Centres, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and the family law court system. WLSA welcomes greater investment in these areas.

  • You can read the media release in response to the announcement here
  • You can read the Australian Government’s announcement here

Out of sight: the untold story of Adelaide’s gay hate murders

SBS, Oct 17th, 2016

For decades, gay bashers operated with impunity. Sometimes, they killed their victims. The police often didn’t care. Sometimes, they were said to be doing the bashing.

A culture of indifference meant the bodies piled up as the world looked the other way. But little is known about gay hate crimes outside those now widely documented in NSW. This SBS investigation explores alleged gay hate crimes in South Australia.

Read more: here

Listen to podcast episodes: 

Late one night in 1992, Rex Robinson pulled his car into one of Adelaide’s most notorious beats. High beam on, Rex sees a man lying face down, motionless in the middle of the road. It’s the night that embroiled Rex in a vicious bashing case which made headlines and outraged the gay community, leaving him without a job and wishing he’d never gone to the police.

Dr. George Duncan’s body was pulled from the River Torrens in 1972. At the time, homosexuality was illegal. Police were the suspects in the murder. It’s a case that’s gone on to become one of South Australia’s most notorious unsolved murders, altered history for all gay men in the state.

Beats are secretive places – they provide anonymity for men seeking sex, but this secrecy also provides a cover and protection for their attackers. “Todd” ran away at 16 and lived on the streets of Adelaide. The street kids he hung out with used to head to beats and used Todd as bait to lure men into the bushes because of how young he looked. This wasn’t the only group targeting homosexuals at beats.

David “John” Saint was an ordinary guy. He worked, bought three houses, did them up and sold them. On April 16, 1991, he was found covered in blood on a main Adelaide street by a passer-by. He didn’t make it. From day one, police said publicly that robbery was the motive. But this didn’t sit well with the gay community.

There is a way you can take a gay murder and make it not a gay murder. You get a good lawyer. This is what happened in 2011 to the brutal killing of Andrew Negre that continues to bounce around the legal system.

HIV Criminal Cases: Media Guide

AFAO, Updated 2016

In Australia, each state/territory has different criminal laws under which someone can be charged with reckless, negligent or deliberate transmission of HIV to another person (generally for sexual transmission), or for exposing another person to HIV. Criminal cases in Australia involving HIV transmission or exposure are rare.

The quality of Australian media reports of criminal cases involving HIV transmission or exposure varies: on some occasions it has been accurate but on others media reports have been inaccurate  or overtly sensational.

The effect of sensationalised reporting that misrepresent the facts is that it can feed misconceptions regarding transmission and risk, dehumanise the people involved in the cases and demonise all people with HIV.

The Media Tool Kit as a whole contains the following topics:

  • Reporting on HIV prevention
  • Reporting on PrEP
  • Reporting HIV data
  • HIV cure research
  • HIV criminal cases
  • HIV exposure risk in the community
  • Reporting HIV: best practice tips +
  • Ethics and principles for HIV reporting
  • Background briefings
  • Media releases
  • HIV timeline

Read more here

Mother, midwife and sheikh guilty in Australia’s first genital mutilation trial

Sydney Morning Herald, November 12, 2015 – 1:53PM

A retired nurse and the mother of two young girls have each been found guilty of carrying out female genital mutilation in Australia’s first prosecution of an FGM case.

A sheikh, Shabbir Mohammedbhai Vaziri, was found guilty of being an accessory after the fact.
All three were members of the Dawoodi Bohra Shia Muslim community

  • Read more from the SMH here
  • Read Guardian Article here