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Broome residents to have their say on sexual offences at Law Reform Commission meeting

Sam JonesBroome Advertiser
Main: Broome residents are being invited to have their say on a review of sexual offence laws. Inset: Lindy Jenkins.
Camera IconMain: Broome residents are being invited to have their say on a review of sexual offence laws. Inset: Lindy Jenkins. Credit: Supplied

Broome residents are being invited to have their say on a review of sexual offence laws, which could see changes to consent laws and laws surrounding the practice of stealthing.

It comes after the State Government ordered two major reviews to investigate whether WA’s sexual assault laws need to be changed, including if “affirmative consent” legislation should be introduced.

A public consultation period will be held at the Legal Aid WA office in Broome on Tuesday, March 28, between 3pm and 5pm.

The Law Reform Commission will conduct one of the probes, which will review the chapter of the WA Criminal Code on sexual offences.

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Under the “affirmative consent” model, sex is only considered consensual if both parties have agreed to the act through words or actions rather than simply assuming.

Criminalising acts such as “stealthing” — the removal of a condom without another person’s permission — will also be considered by the commission.

And it will look at whether “special verdicts” should be used in sexual offence cases.

A second review will be run at the same time by the Department of Justice through the Office of the Commissioner for Victims of Crime.

This will investigate victim experiences with the criminal justice system, including what it is like for them when they report crimes, go to court and when offenders are released from jail.

It will also look at the reasons why sexual offences often go under-reported.

Alternative mechanisms for dealing with offences will be considered, such as “restorative justice processes”.

In other jurisdictions, this can include programs that facilitate mediation for victims and allow them to tell offenders how their crimes have affected them.

People interested in attending the event should register at lrcwa@justice.wa.gov.au.

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