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Judicial responses to the protected confidential communications legislation in Australia
journal contributionposted on 01.08.2002, 00:00 authored by Danuta MendelsonDanuta Mendelson
The article examines the background, aims and scope of recent legislation enacted in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia to protect from disclosure in court of "confidential communications" generated in the context of counselling persons who allege that they were victims of sexual offences. In drafting the "confidential communications" legislation, the legislators undertook a difficult task of balancing the public interest in therapeutic confidentiality that would encourage victims of sexual assaults to report these offences and seek psychological and psychiatric care on the one hand, and the public interest in fairness of the trial, which may be prejudiced by exclusion of evidence pertinent to the forensic process on the other. In South Australia this task was fulfilled with greater success than in New South Wales and Victoria.