Former Liberal employee Brittany Higgins will file a formal complaint today, allowing police to continue an active investigation into her alleged rape in a ministerial office in Parliament

At the same time, his former boss, Defense Minister Linda Reynolds, was due to appear at the National Press Club

However, she took sick leave and was hospitalized as a “precautionary measure”, on the advice of her cardiologist

It has been over a week since Brittany Higgins first alleged that she was sexually assaulted by another Liberal staff member in Senator Reynolds’ office in Capital Hill in 2019

The room was a few meters from the Prime Minister’s office in the ministerial wing of the Parliament, and history sent shockwaves through the building

Ms Higgins said she did not proceed after an initial meeting with the police as she did not want to lose her job and did not feel supported

Senator Reynolds has already apologized for holding a first meeting with Ms Higgins in the same room where the alleged rape took place, and the minister has made moving statements to Parliament about the measures she has taken taken in response

“At all times, for me Brittany’s well-being and her right to privacy were paramount,” said Senator Reynolds

She said her office moved quickly to ensure “Brittany had full access to the police”

“I am deeply sorry that Brittany did not feel supported at the time of the incident and in the months that followed, and indeed the years that followed”

In a statement, she set out the reasons for the reactivation of the police investigation, saying that she wanted the alleged perpetrator to be faced with “the full force of the law” and that his ordeal not be repeated

“I am committed to a meaningful reform in the way the Australian Parliament deals with issues of this nature and treats ministerial and parliamentary staff more generally,” said Ms Higgins

“I think it is essential to shed light on what happened to me and how the system failed me to create a new framework for political staff that guarantees real cultural change and restores staff confidence “

Since Ms Higgins first raised her complaint, the Australian has reported that two other women have made sexual assault allegations against the same man

A fourth woman told the ABC she made an official police report on a 2017 incident when the same man stroked her thigh at a Canberra bar

The Prime Minister announced a series of internal and independent reviews to address culture in the federal Parliament and examine how his own office has handled the issue

The internal report to its staff will be carried out by its former chief of staff, who now heads the Prime Minister and Cabinet Department, Phil Gaetjens

M Morrison said he was only made aware of the sexual assault allegation last Monday, just hours before the article was published, when Senator Reynolds and at least one member of his own staff had known for almost two years

“I did not advise the Prime Minister because it was not for me to do so,” Senator Reynolds told Parliament on Tuesday

The minister said she had had a discussion with Special Minister of State Alex Hawke

“As far as I remember, it wasn’t about that question. It was about my second staff member”

The alleged perpetrator had his job terminated, but the minister said it was because of the “security breach”

“My recollection matches Senator Reynolds’ comments in the Senate that a call was made regarding access to general advice on termination processes in 2019,” he said

Senator Reynolds was forced to correct the record after announcing to Parliament on Tuesday that she had had an additional meeting with Australian Federal Police on April 1, 2019

It was the same day that she first spoke to Ms Higgins in her parliamentary office about the alleged assault

But the minister then sent a letter to the President of the Senate to correct this

She then reiterated her previous statements that she was present for talks with the federal police three days later, alone and then with her chief of staff

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Linda Reynolds

World News – UA – Suspected rape victim Brittany Higgins to make official statement as Linda Reynolds is sent to hospital

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-24/brittany-higgins-expected-police-formal-complaint-alleged-rape/13185066