Suzan Gencay

Lawyer, Victoria Legal Aid


Last updated

1 July 2020

Most sexual offences depend on consent. ‘Consent’ is defined in section 36 of the Crimes Act; consent means free agreement. A person can withdraw consent before or during a sexual act.

Circumstances in which a person does not consent to an act include (but are not limited to):

  • the person submits to an act because of force, or the fear of force or the fear of being harmed;
  • the person submits to an act because they are imprisoned;
  • the person is asleep or unconscious;
  • the person is so affected by alcohol or another drug as to be incapable of consenting to the act;
  • the person is incapable of understanding the sexual nature of the act;
  • the person is mistaken about the identity of any other person involved in the act;
  • the person mistakenly believes that the act is for medical or hygienic purposes; or
  • the person does not say or do anything to indicate consent to the act.
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