Video Extras

NSW Police Chief Proposes Consent App To Address Sexual Assault

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has refused to be drawn on a proposed app for couples to establish and record mutual consent before having sex.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has suggested technology could be used to combat a rising tide of sexual assault and low conviction rates.

Ms Berejiklian on Thursday congratulated him on "taking a leadership position on having the conversation" but did not give her opinion about its utility.

She said Attorney-General Mark Speakman would "very shortly" be making a proposal on consent law reform to her government.

Mr Fuller's proposal was met with scepticism from the women's safety sector and some politicians.  He said consent apps could normalise conversations around consent and formalise the habit of actively seeking consent.

"The conversation around sex and consent seems to be anchored to the '50s and ­clearly it isn't working," Mr Fuller wrote in an opinion piece published by Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

"There is no implied ­consent. It needs to be positive consent. How do we do that in this day and age? One option is with technology."

He conceded an app could provide challenges, such as if someone withdrew consent after agreeing.

Mr Fuller told Channel 9 sexual violence was increasing faster than other violent crime, with 15,000 reports in NSW last year.

Labor's police spokeswoman Lynda Voltz told AAP "we should have a conversation about all options" but said it would be "problematic" if the app implied consent.

"Where you have women that are subject to violence, where you have grooming and coercion, a woman having signed on to an app doesn't necessarily imply that they've consented of their own free will," she said.

Consent was already a stumbling block for many sexual assault criminal trials and the law needs to be changed, she said.

"Will signing an app mean that consent has been given and that sexual assault proceedings can't progress? That's questionable.

"The question is whether the commissioner thinks this is a defence in law or not," she said.

NSW Greens MP Jenny Leong criticised the proposal in a tweet.

We need consent law reform, we need holistic consent education, we need to stop men feeling they are entitled to whatever they want, we need an independent complaints process, we need justice. We need equality. WE DO NOT NEED AN APP!!

CEO of Women's Safety NSW, Hayley Foster, said it was "fantastic" police were acknowledging the need for affirmative consent but urged Mr Fuller to consider the evidence-based proposals she and her colleagues had been putting forward for years.

"It's another example of governments not listening to women's safety services, women victim-survivors, women in general," she said.

"It does feel a little disrespectful of our expertise."

Ms Foster said that, at most, 1.5 per cent of sexual predators were held to account.

Necessary reforms included changes to consent laws; procedural laws around how people give evidence and the type of evidence that can be admitted in sexual assault trials; and training for police.