The New South Wales Government implemented new affirmative consent reforms and legislative changes that simplify and strengthen the laws around sexual consent.
These followed the launch of the ‘Make No Doubt’ campaign aimed at empowering young people to check consent every time they engage in sexual activity.
Western Sydney Local Health District’s Christie Andrighetto, Senior Health Clinician from the Integrated Violence Prevention & Response Service (IVPRS), said “where unwanted sexual behaviour occurs that makes a person feel threatened, scared, or uncomfortable, this is sexual assault. Any sexual activity without consent is sexual assault. Sexual assault is always a crime”.
In Australia, almost 1 in 5 women and 1 in 20 men have experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 15 years (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018).
Sexual assault occurs across all ages, and all cultural, socioeconomic, and demographic groups.
When victims of sexual assault access health services, they need to be heard, validated, and supported to make decisions about their ongoing care.”IVPRS Coordinator, Ly Johnson
The new laws make it clear that if you want to engage in sexual activity with someone, then they need to do or say something to show consent, or you need to do or say something to seek consent.
Under the new affirmative consent laws:
- You can’t assume someone is consenting because they don’t say no. Silence is not consent.
- Consent is an ongoing process. A person can change their mind and withdraw their consent at any time.
- A person can’t consent if they’re so intoxicated that they can’t choose or refuse to participate.
- Consent can only be given freely and voluntarily. If you force or coerce your partner into sex, it’s not consensual.
- Consent must be present for every sexual act. If someone consents to one sexual act, it doesn’t mean they’ve consented to others.
- A person can’t consent if they’re asleep or unconscious.