The NSW Police Commissioner is facing backlash after proposing a ‘consent app’ in attempts to combat sexual assault.
Top Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said he was considering the use of technology to record consent, to help police address the issue of sexual assault. The idea was proposed by Mr Fuller in an interview with the Daily Telegraph on Thursday but has since received serious backlash from the public and conceded that it may not be the right answer.
The app would allow users to record sexual consent digitally before being intimate. The commissioner acknowledged that it would not be a complete solution, but would be a step towards addressing the issue of consent. “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 stated.
Mr Fuller’s proposal follows marches across the country this week calling for action. The NSW government faces calls to reform laws on active consent, as well as including consent education in schools. Sexual violence and legal experts have shared their thoughts about the ‘flawed’ app, stating that it would not account for people who would want to withdraw their consent, nor does the app account for the context in which the consent was given in.
An opinion piece by The Sydney Morning Herald has slammed the proposal. Beginning the article writing: “In yet another Groundhog Day for Australian women, a middle-aged white male has proposed a solution to the problem of sexual violence,” stating that the app completely fails to protect women.
A consent app is entirely about protecting men.
— Erin Riley (@erinrileyau) March 17, 2021
The ABC reported that recent figures from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, sexual assaults rose by 10 per cent in 2020 with a total of 15,000 women coming forward. Out of those figures, only two per cent of sexual assault cases led to guilty verdicts in court.