A long way for justice

WIMMERA people who have experienced sexual assault have to travel to either Ballarat or Melbourne for forensic medical examinations.

Barwon Centre Against Sexual Assault has suggested converting its Horsham offices into a sexual assault crisis care unit, to save victims the travel.

To be asked to spend at least four hours travelling to see a doctor is a significant imposition, under any circumstance.

Having to embark on such a journey after an experience as traumatic as sexual assault is unimaginable.

The victim is subsequently faced with a distressing choice: to go the distance, however stressful that process might be.

Or not to go the distance - a possible round trip of eight to 10 hours -  thus sacrificing forensic medical evidence that might hold up in court.

It is a choice Wimmera people should not be forced to make.

Particularly if a doctor qualified to perform forensic medical examinations is available within the region.

We need the accredited venue Barwon Centre Against Sexual Assault has suggested.

As terrible as it is to imagine the circumstances the need arises from, it is worse still to think of people being discouraged from seeking justice.

Even more horrid are the difficulties the logistical situation poses for any children unfortunate enough to require a forensic medical examination.

The only question remaining is where the $30,000 will come from that is required to upgrade Barwon Centre Against Sexual Assault's existing Horsham offices to create such a sexual assault crisis care unit.

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