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Plan to amend sexual consent laws in NSW

Under a new plan, NSW could strengthen sexual consent laws by clarifying a person does not give consent unless they “say or do something” to communicate it.

Peak bodies lobbying for changes to the law of sexual consent have welcomed the draft proposals of the NSW Law Reform Commission which would bring NSW in line with Victoria and Tasmania.

The proposed law would recognise that “a person who ‘freezes’ out of fear and is unable to communicate does not consent”.

Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia Executive Officer Karen Willis tells Ben Fordham they are satisfied with the proposals.

“It doesn’t have to be verbal, we know that most consent is in the non-verbal space.”

But the Australian Lawyers Alliance’s Greg Barnes tells Ben it would just complicate court cases.

“It does add another layer to the way in which… juries analyse it.

“It’s going to mean that you’re going to have fairly lengthy cross-examinations of complainants, who make complaints in sexual assault cases, about the issue of consent.”

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Image: Getty/EVOK/B.Price