NSW Minister for Prevention of Sexual Assault must be reinstated

Jenny Leong MP, Greens spokesperson for Women’s Rights is urgently calling on the Premier to reinstate the Minister for the Prevention of Sexual Assault and for consent laws to be strengthened in NSW.

In the NSW Cabinet reshuffle of March 2019, the Premier chose to allocate the ‘Prevention of Domestic Violence’ responsibilities to the Attorney General, while the ‘Prevention of Sexual Assault’ element of this previous portfolio was abandoned and is no longer a named portfolio.

There is a major problem with the way that ‘consent’ is defined in the NSW Crimes Act, making it almost impossible for those who’ve experienced sexual assault to get justice. Sexual offences in NSW are significantly under-reported and conviction rates for those offences that do make it to court are staggeringly low.

Jenny Leong MP, Greens NSW spokesperson for Women’s Rights says:

“Back in 2018, the former Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault said that reforms to consent provisions in the NSW Crimes Act was the first priority of the NSW Government Sexual Assault Strategy. That strategy is set to conclude this year and we still haven’t seen action on the very first item? There’s been no change to the law and no bill before the Parliament. It would appear that there has been a significant dropping of the ball.

“Where is the NSW Government Sexual Assault Strategy up to? Has it delivered anything in the prevention of sexual assault or for survivors of sexual assault since the abolition of the Minister for the Prevention of Sexual Assault? It seems the main focus has been on the development of a black and white video and a hashtag. 

“The Premier must make this reform to consent laws a priority and urgently reinstate the Prevention of Sexual Assault as a stand alone Ministerial portfolio. 

“NSW needs to adopt a communicative model of consent - a model which acknowledges the reality of how sexual assaults actually occur, giving clarity to police, courts and juries and mitigating the risk of their reliance on false and outdated ‘rape myths’ to decide whether or not an assault has taken place.

“The Law Reform Commission, the Attorney General, key stakeholders and experts as well as those who have experienced sexual assault all understand the problem and know the solution.

“Enthusiastic consent is the only acceptable form of consent - and our laws need to reflect this.”  


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