Sex offence ‘stealthing’ outlawed in another Australian state

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Tasmania has become the second jurisdiction to outlaw “stealthing” – the non-consensual removal of a condom during sex.

On Thursday, the Tasmanian parliament passed the amendments to the definition of consent to explicitly add stealthing as an offence.

The law criminalises the act of someone not using a condom or removing or tampering with a condom, before or during sex, when their partner has expressly stated that a condom must be used.

“[This] will help educate the public, discourage would-be offenders, and encourage complaints and prosecutions for sexual offences such as rape,” Attorney-General Elise Archer said.

Recent studies have suggested “stealthing” is common in Australia, affecting gay men and women.

A 2018 Monash University and the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre study surveyed 2,100 people about the practice. The study found almost one in five men who have sex with men and one in three women had experienced the distressing practice.

The Tasmanian Council of Social Service told the state parliament it knew of young Tasmanian women and gay men who’d experienced stealthing.

The Women’s Legal Centre of Tasmania also warned police had turned away women who’d complained about stealthing because the law was inadequate.

ACT first Australian territory to outlaw stealthing

Last October, the ACT was the first jurisdiction in Australia to outlaw stealthing.

“Put simply, stealthing is rape,” ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said at the time.

“It is important that we have a society-wide culture that understands and promotes sexual safety and consent.”

The ACT amended the Crimes Act now makes it illegal to remove a condom during sex or to not use a condom at all when previously agreed to.

Meanwhile, the Tasmanian parliament also passed a new standalone criminal offence of non-fatal strangulation, choking and suffocation.

“(It) is a significant form of violence, which can be a precursor for escalation in the severity of family violence,” Archer said.

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