Sexual consent enforcement proposal draws criticism in Australia | Australia News

A suggestion by a senior Australian police official to use a phone app to record sexual consent as a way to deal with an increase in sexual assault cases sparked an outcry, with his proposal being described as “naive”.

Mick Fuller, the New South Wales State Police Commissioner, said Thursday that an app that allows people to digitally document their agreement before having sex could be part of the solution after the cases sexual assault in the state increased 10 percent last year.

“Technology doesn’t solve everything but… it’s playing a very important role in meeting people right now. I’m just suggesting: is this part of the solution? Fuller said.

Fuller said the number of reported sexual assaults in Australia’s most populous state was increasing, while a prosecution success rate of just 2% stemming from those reports showed the system was failing.

“Intimate violence, especially against women, is a real problematic crime for us right now and we need to find a solution,” he told ABC Radio Sydney on Thursday.

The proposal, which followed allegations of sexual misconduct by senior Australian officials that sparked widespread protests, drew mostly negative and skeptical responses, with many saying technology was not the solution.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian praised Fuller for “taking a leadership position to have the conversation” on the issue of sexual assault, but declined to share her opinion on the app.


Lesley-Anne Ey, an expert at the University of South Australia on harmful sexual behavior involving children, said she didn’t think the app would work.

“I don’t think they’re going to cut off the romance to put details into an app,” Ey told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“It’s okay (NSW Police) recognize the need for affirmative consent, but it’s not a safe way to move forward,” said Hayley Foster, general manager of Women’s Safety NSW, the state service against domestic violence.

“The attacker can just coerce the victim into using the app,” she tweeted in response to Fuller’s comments.

“I am perplexed by the persistent belief that technology must be a good solution in situations where we are faced with power, nuance and complex human behavior,” said Annabelle Daniel, head of Women’s Community Shelters, an organization of charity.

Catharine Lumby, ethics and accountability specialist at Macquarie University, described the app as a silver bullet. She called the idea of ​​a consent app “naïve”.

“Basically what we are reckoning with is the fact that there is a very small minority of men in this society who are opportunists, who make the decision to sexually assault women,” he said. Lumby said. “They don’t care where, how or why they’re doing it. They will seize the opportunity and I’m sure they are more than capable of handling the technology, ”she said.

Tens of thousands of women demonstrated in rallies across Australia on Monday to demand justice while denouncing misogyny and dangerous cultures in the workplace.

Public anger erupted after Australia’s Attorney General denied an allegation he raped a 16-year-old girl 33 years ago, and a former government official alleged she was raped there two years by a colleague in a minister’s office in Parliament.

Fuller said his suggestion could gain popularity over time.

“To be honest with you, the idea of ​​application might be the worst idea I have in 2021, but the reality is in five years, maybe it won’t be the case,” he said. declared. “If you think about dating 10 years ago, this concept of singles swiping from side to side was a term we weren’t even familiar with.”

A consent app similar to Fuller’s proposal was launched in Denmark last month. However, the app has not been widely adopted, with fewer than 5,000 downloads, according to mobile intelligence site Sensor Tower.

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