Victoria Set To Adopt Affirmative Consent Law, As NSW Introduce Bill

Article heading image for Victoria Set To Adopt Affirmative Consent Law, As NSW Introduce Bill

A proposed change to the laws of sexual consent will be introduced by the Victorian parliament.

Victorians risk committing a crime if one does not receive consent from their sexual partner, under an alteration to the Crimes Act.

The affirmative consent model means the sole focus on the accused in a sexual offence trial has received consent, instead of scrutinising the role of the victim.

Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes said the system had been setup to focus on the victim, expressing the importance of the change.

"This will flip it," she said.

"This means the questions will be on the perpetrator: What did you do to ensure that you knew the person was consenting to sexual activity?"

The government will also amend laws to make the act of stealthing - removing a condom during sex without the sexual partner's knowledge - a criminal offence.

The amendments will be introduced in 2022, as recommended by the Victorian Law Reform Commission.

The VLRC's report, Improving the Justice System Response to Sexual Offences, found that sexual violence is significantly under-reported and causes strenuous harm on victims.

"This landmark report highlights just how much work there is to do to deliver a justice system that works for victim-survivors," Ms Symes said.

"It's an enormous job - and we'll work closely with those who know this issue best to get it done. To victim-survivors, we hear you. The system must change. This is too important not to act."

The alteration will setup a 10-year government strategy to address the harm involved in acts of sexual violence.

It arrives as a bill to introduce a requirement for "affirmative consent" passed NSW's lower house earlier this week.

If the bill passes the upper house, the NSW Crimes Act will be changed to specify consent must be communicated by words rather than assumption.

In any instance, if consent isn't communicated, the other person could be found guilty of sexual assault.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit In an emergency, call 000.

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12 November 2021

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