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Proposed reform of sexual consent laws

Information about proposed changes to consent laws announced by the NSW Government.

Browse Proposed Sexual Consent Reforms

On 25 May 2021, the NSW Attorney General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Mark Speakman announced proposed reforms to simplify and strengthen consent laws.

The proposed reforms aim to:

  • clarify consent provisions in the Crimes Act 1900, including that consent is a free and voluntary choice that should not be presumed, and that consent involves ongoing and mutual communication
  • strengthen laws to provide that consent must be a free and voluntary agreement, that is communicated between participants
  • ensure fairer and more effective prosecutions of sexual offences
  • address misconceptions about consent in trial proceedings
  • improve victim experience of the justice system and juror understanding of the complexities of sexual offending and reporting through the introduction of new jury directions.

The NSW Government supports, or supports in principle, all 44 recommendations made by the Law Reform Commission (LRC) in its report Consent in relation to sexual offences (the Consent Review). The NSW Government will introduce a Bill to Parliament that will go further than the LRC’s recommendations in one important way, by providing that any belief in consent that an accused person had (or may have) at the time of sexual activity will not be reasonable in the circumstances if the accused did not say or do anything to ascertain consent.

A research project will also be established to better understand the experiences of complainants of sexual offences within the criminal justice system.

Read the media release about the proposed reforms to sexual consent laws from the Attorney General.

For more information about the shared commitment in the education sector to drive community and cultural change in relation to sexual violence visit the Department of Education’s website.

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Last updated: 25 May 2021