Page 1296 - Week 04 - Thursday, 5 May 2022

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to establish the fault element for the offence of sexual intercourse without consent and act of indecency without consent.

Further, the bill introduces an affirmative model of consent by introducing section 67(5), which provides that it will not be considered a reasonable belief in the circumstances if the accused person did not say or do anything to ascertain whether the other person consented. This requirement for a person to take active steps to find out whether there is consent is an important move towards changing cultural views on what is required as part of consensual sexual activity.

The New South Wales parliament recently passed a similar bill to introduce an affirmative consent model and the Victorian government has announced that, in accordance with the recommendations of the Victorian Law Reform Commission, it will also introduce legislation this year to move towards a stronger model of affirmative consent.

The ACT government is committed to doing more to prevent sexual violence and improve responses for victim survivors. More reform like this bill, while critical, is just one part of the work that is needed to prevent and better respond to sexual violence.

The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Steering Committee was established last year following a tripartisan commitment to take action to prevent and respond to sexual assault in Canberra. The steering committee delivered its final report in December last year and made recommendations that seek to ensure that the needs of all parts of our community are taken into account to reform the ACT’s response to sexual violence. The ACT government is closely considering all of the findings from the final report and is listening to the victim survivors who bravely shared their personal insights and lived experiences with the steering committee, as well as the victim survivors who have been tirelessly advocating for change.

This bill takes an important step towards improving the ACT’s response framework for sexual assault victims by implementing recommendation 22 of the steering committee’s final report, which calls upon the ACT government to amend the law in relation to consent by establishing an affirmative communicative model of consent, accompanied by community education measures.

The steering committee considered an exposure draft of this bill and made 10 recommendations, which Dr Paterson has addressed in the final bill. The ACT government also requested that Dr Paterson consider making a number of minor changes to the bill and explanatory statement following consultation by the government with key stakeholders. I thank Dr Paterson for her consideration of these matters and her agreement to making the changes. I also want to thank all of the stakeholders for their engagement with the government in relation to this bill and for their contributions.

It is critical that we as a government take action where we can to improve attitudes towards sex, gender and violence. In the 2017 national community attitudes towards violence against women survey, 16 per cent of participants indicated that they

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