Changing Laws, Changing Lives: Assessing sexual offence laws in the Commonwealth presents an assessment of the sexual offence legislation in all fifty-four members of the Commonwealth against a series of indicators in the following areas of law:
- Sexual assault, including penetrative and non-penetrative sexual assaults and any marital rape exemptions;
- Child sexual assault, including certain problematic defences;
- Disability and sexual offences, including sexual assault laws that criminalise sexual activity with persons with disabilities regardless of their capacity to consent to such activity, or use derogatory language to describe them; and
- Consensual same-sex sexual activity, including laws that criminalise such activity in any way or that set discriminatory ages of consent.
It builds on previous research produced by the Human Dignity Trust on good practice and human rights compliant sexual offence laws in the Commonwealth. Primarily it draws on and updates the data developed in the Trust’s series of reports, Next Steps Towards Reform, which assess sexual offence legislation across the Commonwealth in five regional reports, using indicators first developed in the Trust’s report Good Practice in Human Rights Compliant Sexual Offences Laws in the Commonwealth.
A full description of the methodology used to develop the data used in this research is available in each report.