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Rape and Allied Offences: Substantive Aspects

NCJ Number
Date Published
40 pages
This report by the Law Reform Commission of Victoria (Australia) recommends reform in Victoria's law relating to sexual offenses against adults.
The commission recommends that the law continue to treat sexual offenses as a separate offense category and that it continue to distinguish between penetrative and nonpenetrative conduct. Rape should encompass the nonconsensual penetration of any body orifice by the penis or an object, and 'vagina' should include a surgically constructed vagina. The commission recommends that nonconsent rather than the use of force or the threat of it be sufficient to establish rape. A person who has a reasonable belief that the other person is consenting to the sexual act at issue should not be guilty of rape, except where the person is clearly made aware of nonconsent in the course of the penetration. The concept of nonconsent should be the same for indecent assault as for rape. The commission advises that 'aggravating circumstances' applied to rape be repealed, since this element has led to unacceptable complexity in the conduct of trials. The maximum penalty for rape would then be raised from 10 years to 20 years to compensate for the loss of the additional sentence added on due to 'aggravating circumstances.' Various other recommendations are designed to eliminate current duplications in the rape law. 93 footnotes.