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Stealthing set to become illegal in Queensland

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Stealthing, the non-consensual removal of a condom during sex, will become illegal in Queensland.
stealthing illegal queensland

Stealthing, the non-consensual removal of a condom during sex, will become illegal in Queensland.

A new bill will mean the act of stealthing would be criminally recognised as rape.

The bill will also criminalise coercive control in QLD — a type of interpersonal violence that can include financial control, isolation from loved ones, and phone tracking.

Context

Stealthing can cause mental and physical harm, including anxiety, depression, unplanned pregnancies, and sexually transmitted infections.

According to a 2018 study by Monash University, one in three women and one in five men who have sex with men have experienced stealthing.

Last year, the Australia Institute and RMIT found that more than 80% of Australians think stealthing should be illegal. However, two in three Australians are not familiar with the term “stealthing”.

What’s changing?

A new law has been introduced in Queensland to make stealthing illegal. It comes as the state moves towards an affirmative consent model. This is where each person engaging in a sexual act must actively seek consent from the other person.

The Government says the draft legislation met “extensive consultation” with community and legal advocates, as well as “domestic, family and sexual violence stakeholders”.

“Failing to use, or interfering with a condom, strikes at the heart of a person’s right to bodily autonomy and their right to choose whether and how to participate in a sexual activity,” said QLD Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath.

Stealthing in Australia

The legislation to criminalise stealthing will bring Queensland in line with most of the country.

The ACT was the first Australian jurisdiction to criminalise stealthing in October 2021.

Since then, NSW, SA, Victoria, Tasmania, and the NT have criminalised stealthing.

WA is reviewing its sexual offence laws, including possible laws covering stealthing.

Coercive control

The legislation would also recognise coercive control as a criminal offence.

The state government described coercive control as abuse “designed to harm, punish or frighten” victims.

Coercive control is a form of psychological abuse and a common factor in intimate partner homicides.

Under the new laws, coercive control would carry penalties of up to 14 years’ imprisonment.

When NSW introduced coercive control laws in 2022, First Nations groups flagged that the proposal could further disadvantage women.

Advocacy group Sisters Inside and the Institute for Collaborative Race Research previously said coercive control laws could lead to victim-survivors being “misidentified as perpetrators”, which they said happens “routinely”.

“Not only will Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls not be afforded protection by this legislation, they will be squarely targeted.”

Next steps

QLD’s stealthing and coercive control legislation will pass.

The state’s Labor Government holds a majority in its one house of Parliament, meaning it does not need further support to pass laws.

1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732

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