In May this year, prompted by a 4 Corners episode in which Saxon Mullins described the events that led to the high-profile conviction and then acquittal of Luke Lazarus, the New South Wales Attorney-General Mark Speakman announced that he would refer the state’s consent laws to the Law Reform Commission.
At the announcement of the review into these laws in May the minister for the prevention of violence and sexual assault Pru Goward said it was “not enough to assume that you have been given consent”.
“If it’s not an enthusiastic yes, then it’s a no,” Goward said. “I feel that this is where the law in NSW needs to go. That is certainly the case in Tasmania and I’m hopeful that the Law Reform Commission will come to a similar conclusion.”
In its submission to Law Reform Commission the NSW Police Association said change is necessary noting that the criminal justice system, including the operation of the consent laws in NSW, fails too many victims of sexual assault.
In regards to “a mistaken belief” the police association says this is often brought about by the accused’s lack of care for the person they want to have sex with, and a failure to establish what the victim consents to. “That course of events should no longer be a justification for having sex with someone without their consent.”