CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses consent and sexual violence.

In a huge win for survivors and those working to eliminate sexual violence, affirmative consent laws have just been passed in New South Wales after the NSW Parliament voted to enact the bill on Tuesday afternoon.

Newtown MP Jenny Leong made the big announcement on Twitter, crediting the tireless work of survivor and advocate Saxon Mullins – who she noted as being the person who brought this change to the forefront.

Leong and Cronulla MP Mark Speakman have been speaking on the behalf of sexual assault survivors in the government chambers throughout the push to get the Affirmative Consent Bill and its amendments over the line. After an overwhelming “yes” from the Legislative Council earlier this month, the bill has now been fully passed by the state’s parliament.

“Every survivor and expert who helped this through changed the world today,” Saxon tweeted after the bill was passed.

“Thank you.”

This new reform to the Crimes Legislation means that explicit affirmative consent, like words or actions, need to be given immediately before engaging in any sexual activity in NSW.

It’s also aimed at significantly decreasing sexual violence by not only making sure that consent is asked for and given between people before any sexual interactions, but also by giving legal protections to victims of sexual violence if they were physically unable to give explicit consent, or no longer consented to something during the act due to fear or freezing up.

The Affirmative Consent Bill will also help survivors in legal cases, if their alleged abuser claims they have “reasonable grounds” to believe they were given consent at the time.

According to a release from Speakman in October, the reforms also includes targeted education programs for judges, legal practitioners, and police, and community awareness campaigns to make sure people know what’s expected in sexual situations, no matter the relationship.


Help is available.

If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.

If you’d like to speak to someone about sexual violence, please call the 1800 Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online.

Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.

Image: Getty Images / Manfred Gottschalk / Twitter / @SaxonAdair