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Earlier this year, the state of Victoria passed a law that legally banned all sexual assault survivors from speaking out using their real names in cases where the offender had been found guilty—meaning, tens of thousands of survivors had lost their legal rights to share their own personal experiences.
The 'Gag Law', as it was deemed, also limited those survivors advocating for change, and in turn, protected convicted paedophiles and rapists.
The change came after the Victorian government amended the Judicial Proceedings Reports Act in an effort to protect the identities of survivors by making it unlawful for the media to report on their case. As a consequence, changes to the law meant survivors were restricted from disclosing their own stories, whether through media or on their own social media platforms.
Founder of the #LetUsSpeak campaign, Nina Funnell, has spent the year urging the Victorian government to amend the law and allow all survivors of sexual assault and abuse the option to waive their right to anonymity—if they choose—and speak out about their experiences.
Now, thanks to passionate campaigning, the law has been repealed and replaced with 'Jamie's Law', that gives agency back to survivors and their stories.
The law is named after Jamie Lee Page, who won an eight-month legal battle to use her real name in media, and the name of her father who abused her in the '90s.
Jamie's Law allows victims to choose who publishes their stories, what details are disclosed and whether or not their identity is shared.
The Let Her Speak campaign, founded in 2018, has worked to overturn similar sexual assault victim gag-laws in Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
Those laws were preventing survivors from "courageously sharing their stories," as Funnell says, and the campaign lead to landmark reforms being introduced in both states, allowing survivors to legally speak out.
Now, survivors in Victoria have finally been given their voices back.