Now online: Witness for the Prosecution: Supporting survivors of sexual assault

Sisters in Crime Australia was again proud to join forces with the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre, Victoria University, to present its 15th Law Week event.

An expert panel – Louise MilliganJane PatrickMichele Williams QC and Rachel Spencer –  discuss the experience of survivors of sexual assault and their journey through the Australian legal system and how it make it fairer and less traumatic.

The event is free to watch through YouTube from 6pm (AEST), Friday 21 May. 


Louise Milligan tackles these issues in her recent book, Witness (Hachette Australia), the culmination of five years’ work. She is an investigative journalist for ABC TV’s Four Corners and author of the bestselling Cardinal: The rise and fall of George PellCardinal won the 2017 Walkley Book Award and was highly commended in the Sisters in Crime 2018 Davitt awards. Among the many awards for her work, Louise has received the 2019 Press Freedom Medal, the 2017 Melbourne Press Club’s Gold Quill Award and a 2021 Quill for a Four Corners program on predatory grooming of boys at a Catholic college. 

Jane Patrick is a retired County Court judge. She sat in the criminal division for 10 years and conducted a large number of sex offence hearings. She has always loved reading crime fiction (especially by women authors), but is not so keen on true crime. Jane is a member of Sisters in Crime.


Michele Williams QC is Chair of the Post Sentence Authority, a new independent statutory body established to monitor and supervise serious sex offenders and serious violent offenders who continue to be an unacceptable risk of committing a further serious offence once their sentence is completed.

In 2007 Michele became the first Chair of the Therapeutic Treatment Board, which was established as a pathway to early therapeutic intervention for young children who were exhibiting ongoing sexualised abusive behaviour and as a way of preventing them from becoming adult offenders. Michele was interviewed for Louise Milligan’s book, Witness.


Rachel Spencer, Associate Professor of Law and Director of Monash Law Clinics at Monash University, compered the panel. Linking her knowledge of the law with her interest in life-writing, Rachel has recently submitted a PhD thesis that includes an exploration of the ethics of true-crime writing and brings together the disciplinary literacies of narrative storytelling, true crime methodologies and legal precedent in the form of a true crime manuscript, which she hopes to publish in the near future. Rachel is a member of Sisters in Crime.

Witness can be bought from Sisters in Crime’s long-term supporter, the Sun Bookshop, 10 Ballarat st, Yarraville which now has an on-line order service.

Three crime fans who donated $10 to support Sisters in Crime Australia and this event each won a $150 pack of crime books, kindly donated by publishers:  Pat Miller (Vic); Maurice Baker (Vic); and Karna O’Dea.

Futher info; Carmel Shute, Secretary, 0412 569 356;