As NSW moves to an “affirmative consent” model, have your say on how consent is taught
ANROWS Notepad | 1 June 2021
New South Wales adopts “affirmative consent” model
In response to the NSW Law Reform Commission’s Consent in Relation to Sexual Offences report, New South Wales moved last week to introduce an affirmative consent model. Under such a model, a person only consents to sexual activity if they do or say something to communicate consent, and an accused person’s belief that consent was given will not be considered reasonable unless they did or said something to establish consent.
“We want clear and simple rules of engagement. So this is not just about strengthening the process for compliance, it’s also about simplifying the law, and making it easier to comply with,” New South Wales Attorney-General Mark Speakman said upon announcing the legislative reforms.
These reforms come at a time of growing debate about consent legislation both in Australia and internationally. ANROWS commends the NSW Government on its adoption of the affirmative consent model, and acknowledges that there is further work to be done in the way consent is taught to children and young people. Below we include information about an opportunity to feed into the Australian Curriculum Review.
AUSTRALIAN CURRICULUM REVIEW
Have your say in how consent is taught to children
While it is heartening to see a renewed focus on consent legislation (in the context of sex and intimacy) reform across Australia, there remains no nationwide definition of consent, and young people continue to show concerning attitudes (see for example Young Australians’ Attitudes to Violence against Women and Gender Equality: Findings from the 2017 National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey [NCAS]) that underscore the need for consent to be taught at an early age.
The Australian Curriculum Review, currently underway, seeks to ensure that the Australian Curriculum continues to meet the needs of students – including through increasing the visibility of consent education.
Among the included revisions are those proposed to strengthen the teaching of consent and respectful relationships through the Health and Physical Education curriculum. These cover a range of areas including the impact of power and coercion on boundary setting in relationships; strategies for dealing with relationships when there is an imbalance of power; challenging gender stereotypes and social norms that lead to inequalities, disrespect and violence; and understanding the nature of gender-based violence and the beliefs and attitudes that drive this behaviour.
The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) is inviting feedback on proposed revisions to consent education. While the feedback process is aimed at educators, other members of the public can still have their say. Section 2 of the consultation survey invites general feedback following a series of Likert scale questions. We encourage stakeholders to provide feedback about the revisions made to strengthen expectations in relation to the teaching of consent and respectful relationships education. Submissions can also be emailed. Proposed revisions can be found on the Australian Curriculum Review website.
The consultation period closes on Thursday 8 July.
ANROWS STAKEHOLDER SURVEY
We’d like to hear from you!
The 2021 Stakeholder Survey closes tomorrow (Wednesday 2 June).
As we move towards the next national plan to address violence against women and their children, and continue our efforts to prevent and respond to family, domestic and sexual violence, it is important for ANROWS to know what we do well, and where we could improve.
Working together more effectively with our stakeholders will drive policy and practice change that prevents and responds to violence against women and their children. By taking part in this stakeholder survey, you will help to ensure ANROWS delivers the latest research evidence in the most useful and accessible formats.
ANROWS, AIFS & AIC WEBINAR
The power in understanding patterns of coercive control
In collaboration with the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) and the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), ANROWS will present a webinar exploring how services can support women to voice their experiences of the impacts of coercive control and to respond to their partners’ behaviours.
Domestic and family violence service responses often place physical and sexual violence above other forms of violence in terms of risk and potential for harm. Minimising the harm caused by non-physical forms of violence can negatively affect service responses for victims and survivors.
“The power in understanding patterns of coercive control” will explore ways that services can use the language of coercive control to support women to expose patterns of abusive behaviour, and the panel will comprise experts including Dr Heather Nancarrow (ANROWS), Hayley Boxall (AIC), Emma Rogers (Queensland Government Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women [DCSYW]) and Jackie Wruck (DCSYW).
The webinar will take place on Wednesday 23 June, and will be of interest to professionals working in domestic and family violence, mental health, child protection and other social services.
ANROWS WEBINAR RECORDING
Safety in the Family Court
“There is still a lot of room for improvement in the Courts in [regard to] our understanding of domestic and family violence, and I’m really hopeful that the Safe and Together training that is being rolled out will help.” Janet Carmichael, Executive Director Child Dispute Services, Family Court of Australia & Federal Circuit Court of Australia
One of the major concerns that has arisen through the many new changes and initiatives taking place in the Family Court over the last year is how to keep women and children who have experienced domestic and family violence safe when they engage with the Court.
On Monday 24 May, an expert panel drew on their diverse experiences to offer insights into improving safety for women and children in the Family Court, and the webinar is now available to watch via the ANROWS website.
REGISTER OF ACTIVE RESEARCH
Register your research with ANROWS
ANROWS encourages researchers to contribute to a comprehensive landscape of research currently in progress in Australia that relates to violence against women and their children. Our Register of Active Research (RAR) is a centralised, publicly available database of projects in priority areas identified by Australia’s National Research Agenda to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (ANRA 2020–2022).
The five priority areas contained in ANRA 2020–2022 are children and young people, understanding the intersecting drivers of violence against women, sexual violence and harassment, what works to prevent violence against women, and what works in responding to violence against women. Evidence is needed in these priority areas to support contemporary policy decisions.
The RAR is a vital resource for policymakers, researchers and research funders, and enables ANROWS, its stakeholders and other research funders to monitor progress on addressing the priorities set out in ANRA 2020–2022. The utility of the RAR increases with each project registered, and we strongly encourage researchers to register relevant project details as soon as is practicable.
If you are planning to undertake or fund relevant research, please consider the priorities set out in ANRA 2020–2022 as well as the projects captured in the RAR. If you are already conducting research in this area – and it is currently underway and related to violence against women and their children; has an Australian target population; and employs a robust, rigorous and ethical research design – please register your project with us.
If you have any questions about ANRA 2020–2022 or the RAR, please contact Dr Barbara K. Trojanowska at email@example.com
Conferences & events
20 JULY 2021:
Workshop: Domestic and family violence and brain injury
17 TO 19 AUGUST 2021:
Overcoming indigenous family violence forum
7 TO 8 OCTOBER 2021:
Indigenous wellbeing conference
CLOSING SOON: BREACHES OF FAMILY LAW PARENTING ORDERS: SURVEY
The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has been commissioned by ANROWS to undertake research into the compliance with and enforcement of family law parenting orders. The research will involve multiple studies, including a survey of legal and non-legal professionals working in the family law system.
You are invited to take part in this survey if you are a legal professional (including judicial officers, barristers and solicitors) or non-legal professional (including family dispute resolution practitioners, family violence sector professionals, and professionals working in post-separation support services, such as parenting order programs).
THE NEXT NATIONAL PLAN: PUBLIC CONSULTATION
The next National Plan to address violence against women and their children is currently being developed by the Australian Government, with the existing National Plan drawing to a close in June 2022. As with the current National Plan, the next National Plan will coordinate the efforts of governments, organisations and individuals across Australia to reduce family, domestic and sexual violence.
A public consultation, run by the Department of Social Services in partnership with the Office for Women, is currently underway, and individuals and organisations across the nation are invited to have their say.
Feedback is encouraged from family safety advocates, organisations, people with lived experience of violence, researchers, service providers, frontline first responders, businesses, state and local governments, and the public. The consultation period ends on 31 July 2021.
New research and resources
Books and reports
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2021). Child protection Australia 2019–20 (Child welfare services 74, Cat. no. CWS 78). https://doi.org/10.25816/g208-rp81
Fitz-Gibbon, K., Douglas, H., & Maher, J. M. (2021). Young people using family violence: International perspectives on research, responses and reforms. Springer Singapore. https://books.google.com.au/books?id=u0gtEAAAQBAJ
Flood, M., O’Donnell, J., Brewin, B., & Myors, B. (2021). Engaging men: Reducing resistance and building support. Eastern Health, EDVOS, & QUT. https://www.easternhealth.org.au/images/Engaging_Men-_Reducing_Resistance_and_Building_Support_final.pdf
Forell, S., & Nagy, M. (2021). Health justice insights: Health justice partnership as a response to domestic and family violence. Health Justice Australia. https://healthjustice.org.au/?wpdmdl=3935
Nancarrow, H. (2021). Domestic violence law: When good intentions go awry. In R. Vijeyarasa (Ed.), International Women’s Rights Law and Gender Equality: Making the Law Work for Women. Taylor & Francis. https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=dnMvEAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PT40&ots=XYNw9EsPKo&sig=rrpVNHoN8Sj8E_TbItdHiWoxDUk&redir_esc=y
Baffour, F. D., Adomako, E. B., Darkwa Baffour, P., & Henni, M. (2021). Coping strategies adopted by migrant female head-load carriers who experienced IPV. Victims & Offenders, 1–21. https://doi.org/10.1080/15564886.2021.1923601
Byron, P., McKee, A., Watson, A., Litsou, K., & Ingham, R. (2021). Reading for realness: Porn literacies, digital media, and young people. Sexuality & Culture, 25(3), 786–805. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12119-020-09794-6
Kuskoff, E. (2021). From aims to actions: A critical analysis of government intervention in cultural drivers of domestic and family violence. Australian Journal of Public Administration. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8500.12486
Melgar, P., Geis Carreras, G., Flecha, R., & Soler, M. (2021). Fear to retaliation: The most frequent reason for not helping victims of gender violence. International and Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Sciences. https://doi.org/10.17583/rimcis.2021.8305
In the media
NSW sexual consent laws to be overhauled—The North West Star
Queensland police undergo training to improve handling of sexual, domestic violence allegations—ABC News
Queensland domestic violence cases still rising sharply, expert warns coercive control law will be no quick fix—ABC News
How much can the budget’s $1.1 billion for women’s safety really achieve? Two experts give their verdict—The Conversation
Concern over spike in domestic violence—ABC The World Today
Not Just Numbers—SBS On Demand
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