Sexual and reproductive abuse

The cases identified here provide examples of the way judicial officers have dealt with some of the issues raised in the context statement.

Click on the citation to be directed to a summary of the case in the Case Database.

  • R v NQ [2015] ACTSC 308 (14 October 2015) – Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court
    Robinson AJ at [15]: ‘There is a need…to send a clear message by way of general deterrence to others that participation in sexual behaviour is a matter of choice not subjugation’.
  • Director of Public Prosecutions v P [2007] TASSC 51 (26 June 2007) – Supreme Court of Tasmania

    Crawford J at [16]: Rape amounts to ‘a crime of violence, domination and degradation and it usually causes great psychological trauma to the victim. It requires a substantial sentence of imprisonment in most cases’.

    Evan J at [23] ‘For my part it is significant that the respondent's criminal conduct cannot be categorised as an impetuous response to the break-up of his relationship with the complainant and a manifestation of his love for her. His conduct over the period of in excess of an hour after she first asked him to leave bears all the hallmarks of an assertion of physical and sexual dominion over the complainant.’
  • R v Mason [2001] VSCA 62 (2 May 2001) – Victorian Court of Appeal

    Winneke P at [7]-[8]: ‘A rape committed in the context, and against the background, of a previous settled relationship may in certain circumstances be a factor which a court can take into account in mitigation where it can be seen that the impact upon the victim has, for that reason, been less traumatic than otherwise it might have been. But, equally, it is not difficult to imagine a rape, committed by a man who has been in a previous relationship with his victim, which would be every bit as frightening as a rape committed by a stranger. The one thing which the authorities to which this Court has been referred demonstrate is that the crime of rape, whatever the circumstances, and upon whomsoever committed, is regarded by the courts as a grave insult to its victim and a crime which can rarely give rise to a non-custodial sentence.

    It should not be forgotten that the crime of rape is an intensely personal crime which, for sentencing purposes, cannot be divorced from its effects on the victim. But the effects include not only those which flow from the physical invasion of the victim's person and security, but also those which flow from the violation of the more intangible intellectual properties of the victim's rights and freedoms. In a society in which there is an increasing number of couples becoming estranged, the courts have a heightened obligation to deter those who have previously lived in a stable relationship with a wife or partner from regarding such wife or partner as akin to a chattel devoid of rights or freedoms, and as an object readily available for their sexual gratification’.
  • R v Bastan; DPP v Bastan [2009] VSCA 157 (4 August 2009) – Victorian Court of Appeal

    The complainant’s marriage was arranged by her parents. The applicant became aggressive and she fled to a women’s refuge. They were divorced. The applicant masqueraded as another man to the complainant and, once he gained entry to her home, he raped her.

    Buchanan JA at [36]: ‘I consider that the sentence would generally be regarded as inadequate if imposed upon an offender who tricked his way into the house of a stranger and raped her. The fact that the applicant and the complainant, in the past, had shared a consensual sexual relationship may have played a part in producing this sentence. In my opinion it should have played no part save insofar as those who have been in a relationship should be deterred from asserting any right or power in a like fashion against their former partners. This rape constituted an act of dominion by the applicant over the complainant’s body, which is not to be tolerated. In my opinion, the sentence, and in particular the non-parole period, was manifestly inadequate and represents an error that warrants interference by this Court’.