Proposed changes to sexual offence laws
Sexual offences review
The Department of Justice has conducted an extensive review of sexual offences in Victoria. In October 2013, it released a consultation paper which identified and analysed the main problems with current sexual offence laws. The consultation paper presented proposals for improving the clarity and effectiveness of these laws, and asked questions about how best to deal with certain aspects of the law.
For a copy of the consultation paper, refer to Review of sexual offences: consultation paper.
Informed by the feedback received on the consultation paper, the Government introduced the Crimes Amendment (Sexual Offences and Other Matters) Bill 2014 into Parliament on 20 August 2014. The Bill:
- makes key sexual offences (including rape and sexual assault) clearer and simpler
- introduces a new fault element into these offences, to remove the complexity in existing laws and to introduce an objective standard that requires an accused’s belief in consent to be reasonable
- removes redundant exceptions to sexual offences against children under 16, which purport to apply where the accused is married to the child
- removes time limits which currently prevent the prosecution of certain sexual offences committed against children prior to 1991
- introduces a new course of conduct charge for repeated sexual offending and theft and fraud-related offences
- introduces new exceptions to child pornography offences for minors engaged in “sexting” with their age peers, and
- introduces new offences for distributing or threatening to distribute an intimate image of an adult without consent or of a child.