'Problematic': Top cop criticised over controversial app proposal

Brianne Tolj
·4-min read

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has been criticised for proposing an app for couples to establish and record mutual consent before having sex.

He said during a press conference on Thursday that 15,000 women had come forward in the last year to report a sexual assault, and the number is only rising.

Mr Fuller suggested technology could be used to combat a rising tide of sexual assault and low conviction rates, noting the importance it has in most people’s every day lives.

If technology can “bring people together to find love” then it could “perhaps be an avenue to bring clarity and some respect to women”, he said.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller addresses the media during a press conference in Sydney. Source: AAP
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has been criticised for proposing an app for couples to establish and record mutual consent before having sex. Source: AAP

He said the app might not be the solution, but “if we don’t do something, more and more women are going to come forward seeking justice for sexual violence,” Mr Fuller said.

Ms Foster said that, at most, 1.5 per cent of sexual predators were held accountable, with a lot of cases ending in hung juries.

Consent app met with scepticism

His proposal has been met with scepticism from numerous state residents and some politicians.

Labor's police spokeswoman Lynda Voltz said "we should have a conversation about all options" but said it would be "problematic" if the app implied consent.

"Where you have women that are subject to violence, where you have grooming and coercion, a woman having signed on to an app doesn't necessarily imply that they've consented of their own free will," she said.

Consent was already a stumbling block for many sexual assault criminal trials and the law needs to be changed, she said.

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"Will signing an app mean that consent has been given and that sexual assault proceedings can't progress? That's questionable.

"The question is whether the commissioner thinks this is a defence in law or not," she said.

While NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian refused to comment on the proposal, NSW Greens MP Jenny Leong criticised it on Twitter.

“We need consent law reform, we need holistic consent education, we need to stop men feeling they are entitled to whatever they want, we need an independent complaints process, we need justice. We need equality. WE DO NOT NEED AN APP!!"

Mick Fuller slammed as 'ignorant'

Other Twitter users also voiced their doubts, with some people calling Mr Fuller “ignorant”.

“He’s demonstrating an appalling amount of ignorance on something that is so, so important,” one man wrote.

“The only people this ridiculous app idea would protect is rapists. You don’t ask women to sign a piece of paper “proving consent. Consent can be withdraw at any time. Unbelievable thought bubble from Mick Fuller,” a woman said.

Large crowds are seen gathering for the Women's March 4 Justice in Brisbane last week. Source: AAP
Mr Fuller said he wanted to continue the conversation that has emerged again over the past month. Source: AAP

Others claimed that Mr Fuller was only interested in "protecting men" after he said that the justice system is failing for both offenders and victims.

"I would hope that the app stops matters going into the justice system, because the justice system doesn't seem to be helping the offenders in those matters or the victims," Mr Fuller said.

"If you have a 2 per cent success rate of the prosecutions that are only 10 per cent of matters, then we're failing both ways — there are potentially young men being brought to justice over issues of consent.

"It is such a vexed issue..."

With AAP

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