> Reforms to sexual violence laws underway

Reforms to sexual violence laws underway

New reforms around sexual violence have been introduced into Victorian parliament, with the aim to shift scrutiny onto perpetrators rather than victim-survivors.

The Justice Legislation Amendment (Sexual Offences and Other Matters) Bill 2022 includes amendments that will adopt an affirmative consent model and provide better protections for victim-survivors of sexual offences.

The new model enforces responsibility to gain consent with sexual activity.

For their belief in consent to be reasonable, a person must have taken steps by saying or doing something to find out if the other person consents.

The reforms also clarify that circumstances where there is no consent are a crime, such as the removal, non-use or tampering of a condom, commonly known as “stealthing”.

The government will also introduce stronger laws to target image-based sexual abuse.

Victorian Attonery-General Jaclyn Symes said the reforms were designed to prevent victim-blaming and reducing the shame and trauma often felt by victim-survivors.

“An affirmative consent model is an important part of changing community attitudes towards sexual offences,” Ms Symes said.

Details: www.premier.vic.gov.au/strong-laws-protect-victorians-sexual-violence

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