NSW top cop floats sexual consent app

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has floated using a mobile phone app to record sexual consent between two partners as he searches for ways to reduce sexual violence.

Mr Fuller said he envisages the app being run by a private company, although he concedes it might never happen at all.

“Intimate violence against particularly women is on the increase and it is increasing every year … and consent is a common theme,” he told Sydney radio station 2GB.

“The app could be a terrible idea, but maybe in 10 years’ time that will be seen as the normal dating [method]. If you swipe left and right and there’s another option if you want to have intimacy.

“It certainly wouldn’t be an app that would be run by government. I would see it would be something like the technology that people use now to date.

“I hope that we don’t need to get to that point. I hope that we start the conversation at home and we start the conversation in schools about respectful behaviour.”

Independent Senator Jacqui Lambie told Sky News Australia she was supportive of teaching children about consent from an early age but she was not sure about the practicalities of a consent app.

Senator Lambie said she supported any ideas to deal with violence against women but questioned whether using an app was realistic “if you’re spewing into a bucket … or if you can hardly speak or stand up”.

Mr Fuller said community expectations have changed and domestic and family violence was “not a private matter anymore”.

“Even if the app doesn’t go forward from this day, we need to start the conversation around consent and get a better understanding for the next generation of people who are dating,” he said.

“If we do nothing, then the 15,000 victims that came forward the last 12 months, next year will be more and there’ll be more the year after and this will continue to grow as a terrible crime that damages people on both sides of the relationship.

Sex consent app proposal sparks backlash

Australians have derided a suggestion by the News South Wales (NSW) police commissioner that an app could be used to register sexual consent.

On Thursday,  Fuller championed the idea of an app where people could digitally record their mutual agreement to have sex.

He said the technology could be used to establish “positive consent”.

But many people have criticised the proposal as short-sighted and potentially open to abuse.

Concerns have also been raised about whether it could be used for state surveillance.

In recent weeks, Australians have reignited a national discussion about sexual assault, abuse and harassment of women, and on Monday tens of thousands of people around the nation marched in protest.

NSW Police, in introducing the app idea on Thursday, said it was aimed at normalising the act of seeking explicit consent.

“You may have a son or a brother and you think this is too challenging but this app… protects everybody,” Commissioner Fuller told the Nine Network.

He said the need to prove explicit consent was a consistent problem in sexual assault court cases, and that an app’s record could help achieve better legal outcomes for victims. He added that the idea had been raised with the NSW government.

Less than 10% of the near 15,000 sexual assault cases reported to NSW police last year resulted in police charges, he said.

“It needs to be positive consent. How do we do that in this day and age? One option is with technology,” he wrote in Sydney newspaper The Daily Telegraph.