Sexual assault law is a complex area within NSW, and it requires an experienced lawyer to provide detailed advice on any individual case. There are, however, some common themes that come up with non-legal experts. Here are 4 common myths around sexual assault which are not true.
Myth 1: Many sexual assault claims are false reports or made up
Statistics from around the world estimate that between 2-10% of all sexual assault allegations are false however, this does not mean they were simply made up. A case may be labelled as false if there was insufficient evidence to make a case or the charges were dropped. It is important for the justice system to investigate all claims equally to protect the rights of both the accuser and the accused. It is also important for all accused persons to seek the help of experienced sexual assault lawyers to avoid damaging their case, even if they believe it to be a false allegation.
Read more about false sexual assault claims in our previous blog.
Myth 2: Sexual assault cannot occur between partners or spouses
Any form of sexual assault that occurs with a current or previous intimate partner, family member or similar close relation can be classified as a domestic violence offence. Having previously engaged in consensual sexual relations does not protect you from gaining consent for any future relations.
Read more about domestic violence under NSW law in our previous blog.
Myth 3: Behaving in a certain way implies a person has given consent
This myth has been around for some time though it has never been accurate. Consent must always be expressly given, and not implied. In certain circumstances a person is unable to provide their consent such as while they are asleep, under the influence of drugs or alcohol or in NSW if they are under 16 years old, which is the age of consent.
Learn more about the basics of consent in our previous blog.
Myth 4: Rape is the only serious form of sexual assault
For many in society, sexual assault is by definition rape. However, there are many sexual acts which performed without consent fall under the legal definition of sexual assault. These include acts such as unlawful touching or exposure to sexual content without consent. Any unwanted sexual encounter may be classified as sexual assault and it is always considered a serious offence.
Compassionate legal assistance is available with Powerhouse Law
If you or someone you know has been accused of a sexual assault, know that compassionate, expert legal advice is available. For a consultation with Powerhouse Law, call 1800 100 529 or submit your details via our online form.