Grace Tame celebrates changing of key phrase in serious crime law

Previously, the crime was described as a “sexual relationship with child or young person under special care”.

But it has now been changed to “persistent sexual abuse of child or young person under special care”.

Grace Tame during her address to the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra. (Sydney Morning Herald)

ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury celebrated the change, which came into effect today.

“Language is powerful, and I hope this will help validate for victim-survivors that all ‘relationships’ of this kind are in fact abuse,” he wrote on Twitter.

Grace Tame thanked Rattenbury, the territory’s attorney-general, for his work changing the law.

2021 Australian of the Year Grace Tame during the 2021 Australian of the Year Awards ceremony at the National Arboretum in Canberra on Monday 25 January 2021. fedpol Photo: Alex Ellinghausen (Sydney Morning Herald)

“This one’s for all survivors. It’s not your fault, nor your shame,” Tame wrote on Twitter.

“This win is a hopeful sign.”

Only three jurisdictions in Australia still describe the crime with the word “relationship” – Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Tame was groomed and repeatedly sexually assaulted by a paedophile teacher, but for years Tasmania’s gag laws meant she was unable to speak out, while her abuser bragged on Facebook.

The 2021 Australian of the Year was also involved in the #LetHerSpeak campaign, created and run by survivor advocate Nina Funnell, which saw an overhaul of gag-laws in Tasmania, the Northern Territory and Victoria in 2020.

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