Women's Health and Equality Queensland


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Violence Against Women




In Australia, 23% of women and 8% of men have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime. In Queensland, the legal age of consent for having sex is 16.

Consensual sex is an agreement and willingness to take part in sexual activity (including oral sex, genital touching, and vaginal or anal penetration). Consent must be informed, voluntary and revocable. Without consent, sexual activity is sexual assault or rape.

When thinking about consent, it is important to remember “F.R.I.E.S”.

This means that consent is; 

Freely given:

saying yes through words and actions without pressure, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol 


being able to stop or change your mind at any point 


meaning you have the full story (if someone agrees to condoms then doesn’t use one, that is not consent), and you are of an age and state to provide consent. If you, or the person you are with, are drunk, high, or passed out, informed consent is unable to be given. 


you only do things you want to do when it comes to sex, not things you feel expected to do 


saying yes to one thing doesn’t mean you’ve said yes to others. 

How can I ask for consent? 

  • “How would you feel if I kissed you?” 
  • “Do you want to have sex right now?” 
  • “Does this feel good?” 
  • “Can I touch you here?” 
  • “Are you comfortable?” 

What does consent sound or look like? 

  • Enthusiastic and positive verbal responses, like “Yes” or “That sounds great” 
  • Positive body language, like smiling, maintaining eye contact, nodding, or pulling a partner closer 

What does reversing or withdrawing consent sound or look like? 

  • Negative or closed off body language, such as getting tense, turning away, or avoiding eye contact 
  • Verbal cues, like “Wait”, “Hold up”, “Can we stop or slow down?”, or “I’m not sure”, “I’ve changed my mind”, “I don’t feel comfortable” 

The absence of a ‘no’ is not enough when it comes to consent, and your partner should always respect your feelings (and vice versa). Body language is also very important. If your partner seems tense or uncomfortable, pause and ask them how they are feeling. Speak up if you start to feel uncomfortable as well, and if you want to stop or take a break.  

Affirmative consent is the law in Tasmania, New South Wales, Victoria, and the ACT (meaning that consent is understood as ongoing communication). In Queensland, the current definition of consent is defined as “free and voluntary consent”. Passive non-resistance, such as freezing up does not equate to consent.  

You can read more about Queensland’s consent laws here:

Find out more about youth laws around sex, consent, and dating here:

Visit Rape and Sexual Assault Research and Advocacy’s (RASARA) consent toolkit:

If you’ve been sexually assaulted, and you want to make a complaint, you should report it to the police as soon as possible. In an emergency call 000. You can also get support from a sexual assault support service.  

Sexual assault support services: 
  • 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) provides crisis and trauma counselling services to anyone whose life has been impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
  • Zig Zag Young Womens Resource Centre has counselling, support, information, referral and other services for young women (12 to 25). 
  • Bravehearts provides counselling and support to children, adolescents and adult survivors of child sexual assault, as well as their non-offending family members. 
Legal support: 
  • Youth Advocacy Centre (YAC) is a community legal and social welfare service for young people up to 18 years. 
  • Hub Community Legal offers basic help and advice on a range of legal matters including family law, domestic violence, child protection and youth criminal law advocacy services. 
  • YFS Legal gives legal information and advice to young people under 25. 
  • Community legal centres give legal advice on a range of topics. Contact them to find out if they can help with your matter. 
  • Queensland Law Society can refer you to a specialist private lawyer for advice or representation. 
Other support services: 
  • Brisbane Youth Service helps young people to find and maintain appropriate housing, address physical and mental health issues and establish successful relationships and support networks. 
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