Sexual consent laws to be reviewed

Published: 9 May 2018

Have your say on whether the sexual consent provisions in the Crimes Act should be amended to better protect victims.

The Attorney General has asked the NSW Law Reform Commission to review and report on consent and knowledge of consent in relation to sexual assault offences, as dealt with in section 61HA of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

The review will consider sexual assault research and expert opinion, as well as community views, and developments in law, policy and practice in Australia and internationally.

The Attorney General initiated the review after a woman endured two trials and two appeals with no final resolution. The proceedings centred on the issues of consent and the accused’s knowledge of whether the complainant consented, which the review will consider.

Attorney General Mark Speakman said the review will examine whether the consent provisions in the Crimes Act require simplification and modernisation.

“This young woman’s bravery in coming forward and sharing her story is commendable. The delay and uncertainty in this matter was unacceptable,” Mr Speakman said.

“Within the coming weeks I will recommend to the Governor the appointment of a Commissioner with criminal law expertise to lead this important review.”

Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Pru Goward said it is vital sexual assault survivors feel confident the justice system is working effectively to keep them safe.

“The law of consent should protect vulnerable people from sexual assault and put offenders on notice,” Ms Goward said.

“Reporting sexual assault and reliving the experience in court takes enormous courage, and I look forward to considering the recommendations of this review."

Have your say

Read the terms of reference and make a submission.

Submissions close Friday 29 June 2018.

Where can you get help?

​If you are a survivor of sexual or physical assault, you may be entitled to support under the Victims Support Scheme. You may be able to get help even if no one was charged or co​nvicted.

Other support services operate that 24/7 include:

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