Aitchison Warns Against New Welfare Laws

Jenny Aitchison says she’s wary of new laws that would give doctors the power to refer suspected victims of domestic violence to welfare services, with or without patient consent.

Domestic violence Minister Pru Goward says the safer pathways project will provide victims another avenue to seek help, without fear of retribution.

But the Maitland MP says it could have unintended consequences.

“Part of the process to recovery for anyone who has suffered from these kinds of crime, where they are about power and control, they all have that as their basis. So to take control over telling your story away from the victim or the survivor I think is a very dangerous path to go down.”

Ms Aitchison has revealed she was sexually abused over a decade ago, and has called for a public campaign on the issue. She told Fairfax she was assaulted as she was sleeping when she was working as a tour operator in Africa.

It comes after the release of figures that shows out of more than 1200 sexual assaults in the Hunter last year,  only 229 people were charged.

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