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Did She Consent? Law and the Media in New South Wales

17(4) Alternative Law Journal 249-253, 2012

6 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2012 Last revised: 18 Jul 2013

Tahlia Dwyer

Independent

Patricia L. Easteal

University of Canberra - School of Law and Justice

Anthony Hopkins

University of Canberra – Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Legislative reform to the law of sexual assault in New South Wales in 2007 emphasises that those who wish to engage in sexual intercourse must take steps to ensure that they do so with consent. The new laws’ intent was to ensure free, voluntary and communicated consent, and to punish those who take advantage of the intoxication of their victim, or seek to hide behind their own intoxication. Further, the intent was to promote awareness and expectation with respect to acceptable consensual sexual activity. This article identifies a discord between this legislative intent and the reporting and commentary in the newsprint media which continues to focus on victim intoxication and behaviour as a matter of ‘risk’. The contention here is that until the legislative intent is reflected in the newsprint media the national conversation on sexual assault will remain impoverished, limiting the potential to focus the spotlight on perpetrators.

Keywords: Consent laws, sexual assault law reform, intoxication, media reportage

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Dwyer, Tahlia and Easteal, Patricia L. and Hopkins, Anthony, Did She Consent? Law and the Media in New South Wales (2012). 17(4) Alternative Law Journal 249-253, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2181780

Tahlia Dwyer

Independent ( email )

Patricia L. Easteal (Contact Author)

University of Canberra - School of Law and Justice ( email )

Australia
+61 (0)2 6201 5779 (Phone)
+61 (0)2 6201 5764 (fax) (Fax)

Anthony Hopkins

University of Canberra – Faculty of Law ( email )

Australia

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