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Loss of pregnancy and the criminal law

The NSW Government is seeking feedback on the Exposure Draft of the Crimes Legislation (Offences Against Pregnant Women) Bill 2020.
Justice scales
Justice scales

What’s this about?

The NSW Government is seeking community views on a draft Bill to improve recognition of the loss of an unborn child as a result of a third-party criminal act. 

Currently, the law in NSW, like several other Australian jurisdictions, recognises the destruction of an unborn child as grievous bodily harm to the woman who carries that child. This Bill, however, seeks to specifically recognise the unique and significant loss of an unborn child as a result of criminal offending.

The draft Crimes Legislation (Offences Against Pregnant Women) Bill 2020 proposes the following reforms to strengthen the law:

  • Amendments to the Crimes Act 1900 to provide a circumstance of aggravation for relevant offences committed against a pregnant woman which causes the loss of an unborn child. The maximum penalty of the relevant offence will be increased by an additional three years imprisonment.
  • Amendments to the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 to expand the eligibility for making a Victim Impact Statement to the immediate family members of a pregnant woman whose unborn child was lost. This is taken into account by a court when sentencing an offender.
  • Amendments to the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 to allow for the name of an unborn child lost as a result of a criminal offence to be included on an indictment in the particulars of a criminal charge. 
  • Amendments to the Motor Accidents Injuries Act 2017 to expand eligibility to claim funeral costs where an unborn child is lost as a result of a motor accident. 

The proposed amendments do not affect existing laws on abortion. The proposed amendments also seek not to displace the ‘born alive rule’, which provides that a child attains legal personhood when they are born and take their first breath.

Read the Premier's media release

Have your say

There are two ways you can provide your feedback below. 

The NSW Government may publish your submission or refer to your feedback in any public report, unless you request that all or part of your submission is to be kept confidential. 

Have your say by Friday 29 January 2021.

Formal submission

10 November 2020 to 29 January 2021

Address: Director, Law Enforcement and Crime, NSW Department of Communities and Justice, GPO Box 31, Sydney, NSW 2001


10 November 2020 to 29 January 2021

Consultation period

From:10 November 2020
To:29 January 2021

See consultation methods

More information

Email: Project team
Phone: Not available
Agency Website
Consultation Website

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