Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee: Inquiry into current and proposed sexual consent laws in Australia
This submission draws on ANROWS research to highlight opportunities for improvement to sexual consent laws in Australia. These recommendations are intended to ensure better support for victims and survivors of sexual violence.
The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee called for submissions to the Inquiry into current and proposed sexual consent laws in Australia in early 2023. ANROWS’s submission draws on our evidence base and the findings from the newly released 2021 National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey (NCAS) and discusses:
- the inconsistencies in sexual consent laws across Australian jurisdictions
- the impacts of consent laws on victims’ and survivors’ experiences of the criminal justice system
- the benefits of national harmonisation
- the efficacy of jury directions about consent
- the impact of consent laws on consent education.
ANROWS’s submission makes four recommendations for sexual consent laws in Australia, intended to improve the experiences of victims and survivors of sexual violence:
- Harmonise national consent laws.
- Include affirmative consent as an essential component of sexual consent laws in every Australian jurisdiction.
- Consider how the mistake of fact defence intersects with, and contradicts, the affirmative consent model.
- Provide continuous funding for the NCAS, implemented by ANROWS, to monitor progress in community attitudes towards consent and violence against women.
This submission builds on previous ANROWS submissions to reviews of consent laws in New South Wales and Queensland.
Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety. (2023). Re: Inquiry into current and proposed sexual consent laws in Australia [Submission]. ANROWS.