The Queensland government has reformed consent laws in Parliament this week but admits there is still more work to do.
All five recommendations made by the Queensland Law Reform Commission in its review of consent laws and excuse of mistake of fact were implemented including enshrining in the criminal code the four key principles.
Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman says the reforms are just the first step.
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“By providing clarity in these laws, and making consent laws more accessible, and with better safeguards, we will have the strong legal system in place to keep more Queensland women safe, and hold perpetrators to account,” the Attorney-General said.
“We have enshrined in the Criminal Code principles like silence doesn’t amount to consent, consent once given can be withdrawn and the self-intoxication of a defendant cannot be relied upon by that defendant to show that they were mistaken about whether or not consent was given and that was reasonable.
“This will provide clarity for judges to properly direct juries and get better outcomes for victims,” she said.
It comes after the state government announced a new task force, to look at ways to break down the barriers that women face when trying to report a sexual assault.
There are concerns that many women simply don’t come forward because the criminal justice process is too traumatic.
The Attorney-General admits there is still more work to do.
“I understand that some stakeholders believe the laws could go further, and I acknowledge there is always more to do.
“Our Government will always look at ways we can eliminate violence against women from our community.”
“The task force will look at ways to break down the barriers women face from when they report the crime all the way to their experience in the court.
“These are complex laws that need extensive consultation to get this right, and if the taskforce find that consent laws need amending, our Government will act.”