Tough new “stealthing” laws now in force in South Australia

8 March 2023

Tough new laws criminalising the repugnant act of “stealthing” – the non-consensual removal of a condom during sex – came into force today in South Australia. 

SA-BEST MLC and Attorney General spokesperson, Connie Bonaros, said this made South Australia one of only a handful of jurisdictions around the world to criminalise the disgusting behaviour. 

The new laws - first introduced by Connie and passed by State Parliament last year – carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. 

Connie said: “The repugnant and disgusting act of stealthing is more common than most people believe, with a recent study revealing one in three women and one in five men who had sex with men had been the victim of stealthing – that’s a shocking statistic! 

“Such a grotesque acts of indecency is now treated in the same manner as rape and is punishable by up to life imprisonment, as it should,” she said. 

“I applaud the State Government – in particular the Attorney General Kyam Maher - for ensuring such important legislation is now in place.” 

Attorney General, Kyam Maher, said: “Stealthing is an utterly unacceptable abhorrent act that has no place in our society. 

“These laws make it absolutely clear that stealthing is an illegal act, which will help send a strong message that our society will not tolerate this – or any other – form of sexual assault,” he said. 

“The reforms we have made to expert evidence and jury directions in sexual assault cases are also an important step forward that modernise the laws and help ensure juries have an understanding of the issues they need to consider in these matters. 

“I would like to pay special tribute to Chanel Contos as the Founder of the Teach Us Consent Campaign who has long pushed for this clarity in legislation, and to thank the Hon Connie Bonaros MLC for her longstanding support and advocacy in this area, and for bringing the bill to Parliament.” 

Teach Us Consent Founder and CEO, Ms Chanel Contos, said: “Explicitly outlawing stealthing is an important way to set community standards about what behaviours are not acceptable. 

“Aside from obvious risks such as increased risk of STI transmission and unwanted pregnancy, there are physiological effects as a result of having your bodily autonomy disregarded,” she said. 

“Stealthing is a very intricate form of sexual violence because by definition, in order for you to be stealthed, you must have consented to protected sex with the person. This intimate relationship with the perpetrator heightens all of the barriers to reporting. 

“It’s great to see South Australia implement this legislation. 

“Stealthing is a crime that occurs when sexual entitlement outweighs empathy. Sexual entitlement can be counteracted with cultural change, and that’s what this law will contribute to. 

“I hope that we see unified laws around Australia in this space to increase public education about the intricacies of consent. 

“I thank the Hon Connie Bonaros and the Attorney-General Kyam Maher for their leadership in this space.” 

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