This report looks at the circumstances when a person can consent to being assaulted. As a rule, cases of assault involve a non-consenting victim. However, on occasion people consent to assault, for example during contact sports.
This report makes five recommendations for reforms to the law regarding when consent should be permitted as a defence to assault. Those recommendations include replacing outmoded definitions in the current statutory provision dealing with this matter (s 182(4) of the Tasmanian Criminal Code) with more modern language and the introduction of a new test for where consent will be valid in cases of assault, which better accounts for violence inflicted in the home or in the presence of children.
The report was prepared following a community consultation which confirmed concerns that some aspects of the laws relating to consensual assaults are unclear, and do not reflect contemporary views about when the law should criminalise consensual assaults. In particular, it suggests that the law does not respond adequately to modern concerns about violence in the home. This means that it may leave those who are particularly vulnerable to family violence without adequate protection from the law.
Further, the report notes that the current law presents considerable difficulties for judges and juries, because it utilizes outdated technical terms and concepts, making it difficult for judges to direct juries on when consent is not a defence to assault.