April 17, 2021

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Top NSW cop proposes using app to record sexual consent

3 min read
<p>One of Australia's top police officers says an app as part of a possible solution to establishing positive sexual consent and tackling <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/sexual-assault" target="" rel="noopener noreferrer" title="sexual assault">sexual assault</a>.</p>

One of Australia's top police officers says some sort of app could form part of a possible solution to establishing positive sexual consent and tackling the growing sexual assault crisis.

The app could allow users to digitally record sexual consent before being intimate.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said the issue of sexual assault needs to be approached in a new way to fit with modern society.

"Dating has changed," Mr Fuller said.

"If you're single the primary way you are dating now is online.

"Technology plays such a big role in our lives, potentially technology could be one of one of many solutions to trying to stop this increase in sexual violence in our state."

Mr Fuller acknowledged an app would not provide a complete solution to the issue but said it could be a more effective way to address the issue of positive consent.

"This app or this concept of consent, whether it's on an app or otherwise, that protects everybody," he said.

"It doesn't protect everybody in every situation and it's not the entire solution, but the reality is consent is by far the biggest issue that we are facing in matters of intimate violence.

"We need to have some pretty confronting conversations in this space because this is not a matter of just saying that this crime is a problem. This crime is increasing every day exponentially."

He later conceded to 2GB it may not be feasible but worth having a conversation about.

"The app could be a terrible idea, but maybe in 10 years' time that will be seen as the normal dating [method]. If you swipe left and right and there's another option if you want to have intimacy.

"It certainly wouldn't be an app that would be run by government. I would see it would be something like the technology that people use now to date.

"I hope that we don't need to get to that point. I hope that we start the conversation at home and we start the conversation in schools about respectful behaviour."

Mr Fuller said it was "okay" that people were criticising the app, saying any conversation around applying consent is a good one.

"The app may never see the light of day. People are out there today criticising the app, and that's okay," Mr Fuller said.

"But nobody has come to me with the suggestion that its not a worthy cause in need of addressing."

According to a report released last year from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, police recorded 18,300 sexual assaults against victims who were aged 15 and over.

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The rate of sexual assaults reported to police was seven times as high for female victims as males.

The sexual assault rate was higher for those aged 15–19 than any other age group.

In 2016 it was estimated that perpetrators of sexual assault were four times as likely to be someone known to the victim as they were to be a stranger and in 2018–19, 97 per cent of sexual assault offenders recorded by police were male.

Young males aged 15–19 when police proceedings commenced, had the highest offender rates of any age group.

Similar initiatives have been adopted overseas including in Denmark with the iConsent app which gives users "24-hour consent contract" to perform sexual intercourse their partner.

The new technology was introduced after the Danish government implemented law reforms making positive consent a key factor in determining allegations of rape.

The app has sparked controversy with some groups saying it undermines the concept of consent by characterising it as a contractual relationship.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/nsw-mick-fuller-calls-for-consent-app-to-tackle-sexual-assault/417dc8ba-c2d4-4672-842a-080f3ff38f40

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