Queensland’s sexual consent laws ‘inadequate’, says Women’s Legal Service
By Danica Streader –
A “complete” review of the current sexual violence legal system in Queensland is urgently needed, women’s legal advocates say.
Women’s Legal Service Queensland (WLSQ) solicitor Julie Sarkozi is calling for the state government to conduct a review on sexual violence, saying the current laws and processes are “inadequate”.
Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath has written to the WLSQ and other legal stakeholders asking for information and case studies related to the “mistake of fact” offence.
Queensland’s sexual consent legislation includes the defence of mistaken belief, whereby a person is not criminally responsible based upon a reasonable and honest mistake of fact.
However, Ms Sarkozi said WLSQ had requested a whole-scale review and reform to the sexual violence legal process, rather than focusing on improving specific consent laws.
“Again, and again, women going through the court system tell us they felt like they were the ones on trial, having to justify how believable their case was,” Ms Sarkozi said.
“These rape survivors are not in a position to teach the jury about the reality of rape.
“What we are asking for is a complete review to a system that includes laws, courts, police, community sectors and attitudes, and instead we have received a wholly inadequate response of how we should improve consent laws and mistake of fact offence.”
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