In the Northern Territory, sexual offences laws are found in the Criminal Code Act 1983 (CCA), as amended. The Sexual Offences (Evidence and Procedure) Act 1983 (SOEP) contains the rules of evidence applicable to sexual offences.
Many of the provisions covered by this review meet good practice standards. For example, sexual assault covers all forms of non-consensual sexual penetration – by penis, objects and other body parts – of all orifices. Consensual same-sex sexual activity is not a crime.
The age of consent is 16 years for everyone.
However, some other aspects of the legislation do not meet good practice standards. For example, under the CCA, non-penetrative offences are partly contained within the moralistically termed offence of ‘gross indecency’, which is not defined and does not expressly include all forms of non-penetrative sexual touching. Child sexual assault provisions are limited, for example, sexual communication with a child, sexual acts in the presence of a child, or grooming are not specifically captured by the law. There are no close-in-age defences to child sexual assault, which are essential to prevent criminalising consensual sexual activity between young people where one or both are under the age of consent.
The full assessment of Australia is available here.