By April Murphy
Queensland Government delivered significant consent law reforms in Parliament this week.
Attorney-General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Shannon Fentiman said these reforms were an essential first step in modernising consent laws in Queensland.
“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,” Ms Fentiman said.
According to Ms Fentiman, consent principles have been enshrined in the Criminal Code, such as silence doesn’t amount to consent, and permission, once given, can be withdrawn.
These new principles are expected to provide clarity for judges to direct juries and get better outcomes for victims properly.
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 fundamental principles.
“I understand that some stakeholders believe the laws could go further, and I acknowledge there is always more to do,” Ms Fentiman said.
The Attorney-General assures residents that the Government will always look at ways to eliminate violence against women from the community.
This month, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and the Attorney-General announced a wide-ranging review of women’s experiences in the criminal justice system conducted by the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce – led by the Hon Margaret McMurdo AC.
“The taskforce 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,” Ms Fentiman said.
The ten-member Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce will look into possible future reform areas, including attitudinal change, prevention, service response and legislative amendment.