Seminar: Alternative reporting options for sexual violence survivors

QUT Centre for Justice was delighted to welcome Dr Rachel Loney-Howes to a roundtable event to present her research on “Alternative reporting options for sexual violence survivors”.   Dr Loney-Howes provided participants with an opportunity to reflect on the enduring complexities and challenges survivors of sexual violence face when disclosing or reporting sexual violence, and what potential there is for alternative reporting options/pathways.  From the #MeToo movement/moment to various law reform commissions and public inquiries, as well as a rise in survivors speaking out publicly, there has been increased public, legal, and political attention on sexual violence globally and in Australia over the past decade.  The heightened focus on sexual violence has potentially contributed to a rise in formal reporting to police. There has also been a trend toward survivors using a variety of different platforms and mechanisms to disclose or report a continuum of sexual violence (such as sexual harassment, technology facilitated sexual violence, sexual assault, and rape), including social media, digital platforms, and alternative reporting options aligned with police, service providers (e.g., Tinder, Uber etc.), and support services.

Despite the plethora of disclosure and reporting pathways, survivors continue to face significant barriers seeking help and support. There are also critical issues associated with the design, function and implementation of alternative disclosure and reporting tools. This roundtable will allow discussants to reflect on what the increase in disclosure and reporting of sexual violence means for communities, services and platforms offering alternative reporting or disclosure pathways, and the survivors who engage with them.


Dr Rachel Loney-Howes is Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Wollongong. Her research focusses on two key areas: (1) the use of digital platforms for activism against sexual violence, and (2) alternative reporting options for survivors of sexual violence. She has published extensively on these topics and is particularly interested in how her research can facilitate better ways of witnessing and listening to survivors of sexual violence across a variety of forums. Rachel is also the author of Online anti-rape activism: Exploring the politics of the personal in the age of digital media (Emerald Publishing Group) and the co-editor of #MeToo and the politics of social change (Palgrave McMillan) with Dr Bianca Fileborn. Rachel recently completed a Criminology Research Grant funded by the Australian Institute of Criminology exploring Anonymous and confidential reporting options for sexual assault: An exploration of their purpose, use and potential in Australia with Professors Georgina Heydon and Nicola Henry (RMIT). She also has a new book under contract with Dr Tully O’Neill examining public survivors of sexual violence in Australia and the USA.



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