In Tasmania, sexual offences laws are found in the Criminal Code 1924 (CC) as amended. The Evidence Act 2001 (EA) is applicable to sexual offences, containing for example the rules of evidence in relation to prior sexual conduct of a complainant in a sexual assault case.

Many of the provisions covered by this review meet good practice standards. For example, all forms of non-consensual sexual penetration – by penis, objects and other body parts – of all orifices are crimes. The consent provisions presume an absence of consent unless there is evidence of communicated free agreement. There are close-in-age defences to child sexual assault offences preventing criminalising consensual sexual activity between young people and their peers when one or both are under the age of consent.

The age of consent is 17 years for all. Consensual same-sex sexual activity is not a crime.

The CC explicitly states that corroboration of a rape or other sexual assault complaint is not required. The EA expressly states that evidence of sexual reputation is inadmissible and prior sexual conduct of the complainant is generally inadmissible, with limited exceptions.

Other aspects of the provisions are, however, not in accord with good practice. For example, non-penetrative offences are contained within the moralistically termed offence of ‘indecent assault’, which is not expressly defined in the CC to include all forms of sexual touching. Child sexual assault provisions are limited and do not cover offences such as sexual communication with a child, causing a child to watch sexual acts, or sexual abuse by a person in power or authority. These may be covered under Federal criminal law which is not assessed in this report. The offence of ‘maintaining a relationship with a child’ is problematic as sexual intercourse with a child is sexual assault, not a ‘relationship’. It would be better characterised as persistent child sexual abuse.

The full assessment of Australia is available here.

NEXT STEPS TOWARDS REFORM: THE PACIFIC

NEXT STEPS TOWARDS REFORM: THE PACIFIC

This report examines the status of sexual offences legislation in the Commonwealth Pacific, assessing good practice and identifying where there are gaps in protection, with a particular focus on women, children, LGBT+ people and people with disability.

GOOD PRACTICE IN HUMAN RIGHTS COMPLIANT SEXUAL OFFENCES LAWS

GOOD PRACTICE IN HUMAN RIGHTS COMPLIANT SEXUAL OFFENCES LAWS

This report lays out criteria for good practice human rights compliant laws across four areas of sexual offences legislation, namely rape/sexual assault, age of consent for sexual conduct, treatment of consensual same-sex sexual activity between adults, and sexual offences in relation to people with disability.

CHANGING LAWS, CHANGING LIVES

CHANGING LAWS, CHANGING LIVES

Since 2015, the Trust's legislative reform programme has been analysing the need for the reform of sexual offence laws and delivering technical assistance to support such reform. Find out more about our Changing Laws, Changing Lives programme.

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