Making Stealthing a Crime

Chanel Contos gives a National Press Club address, 1 November 2023


On November 1, 2023, Chanel Contos gave a National Press Club address, speaking on sexual violence prevention and the importance of consent education.

In her address, the founder of Teach Us Consent and former director of the Australia Institute’s Sex and Gender Equality program highlighted the progress made on criminalising stealthing nation-wide, and reflected on the work of the Australia Institute.

Chanel, Teach Us Consent, and the research of the Australia Institute helped bring the issue of stealthing into the national spotlight, and moved Australia towards nationally consistent criminalisation of the little-known form of sexual assault.

Stealthing is the non-consensual removal of a condom during sex, and in July 2022 the Australia Institute hosted a roundtable convened by Chanel, attended by Attorneys-General advisors, shadow Attorneys-General, Supreme Court Judges and members of state and territory legislative councils, with national television and media coverage.

At the time, only the ACT and Tasmania had made stealthing a crime, with other states and territories lagging behind.

The Australia Institute met with all state and territory Attorneys-General after the roundtable and briefed on stealthing, including the federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, after which stealthing was added into the MAG Work Plan.

In October 2022, an Australia Institute report by Sienna Parrott, Anne Kantor Fellow at the Australia Institute, and Dr Brianna Chesser from RMIT, further pushed the case for nationally consistent criminalisation laws, showing 81% of Australians support the proposal.

By December, NSW and Victoria had implemented stealthing laws, and thanks to the work of Teach Us Consent and the Australia Institute on both public education and engagement with law-makers, Queensland and South Australia committed to criminalising stealthing as well. In June 2023, the Northern Territory indicated they would move to criminalising stealthing, leaving just Western Australia to follow. In WA, stealthing was a recommendation of the WA Law Reform Commission, which the Government has to respond to.

Congratulations Chanel and all involved on the significant progress made towards minimising the prevalence of this harmful practice.

Between the Lines Newsletter

The biggest stories and the best analysis from the team at the Australia Institute, delivered to your inbox every fortnight.

Sign up

You might also like

Jailing climate protestor Violet Coco shows anti-protest laws have gone too far

in The Canberra Times

The anti-protest laws that have swept the country are a threat to us all, even if you’ve never attended a protest in your life. Governments are writing and passing laws which authorise companies to legally cause harm to our community and environment, while jailing individuals seeking to stop such harm through non-violent protest. The draconian

Ballot papers are seen at a counting centre in Melbourne, Saturday, October 14, 2023. Australians will vote in a referendum on October 14 on whether to enshrine an Indigenous voice in the country's constitution.

Overwhelming support for truth in political advertising laws following referendum

New research from the Australia Institute shows more than 60 per cent of ‘No’ voters are concerned about the misinformation and disinformation that circulated on social media during the referendum campaign, with more than 80 per cent of that cohort wanting to see truth in political advertising laws in place before the federal election, expected in 2025.

Action, Not Offsets | Between the Lines

The Wrap with Richard Denniss At the same time as Anthony Albanese flew into the Cook Islands to discuss climate action at the Pacific Island Forum, the Australian Parliament was passing the new Sea Dumping legislation. A bill which will allow Santos to pump millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide, 800 kilometres north into the