Rape law reform: a collection of conference papers


The conference was planned with a view to concentrating upon the reform of the law of rape; to evaluate changes introduced in some Australian jurisdictions; and to take advantage of the introduction of new laws into the United States, bringing before the conference results of an evaluation study of the operation and effect of the new Michigan sexual assault law.  Thus, three sessions dealt specifically with the substantive law of rape and laws of evidence, one session concentrating upon the Michigan legislation. Recognising, however, that rape does not take place in a legal vacuum and that law reform is a political as well as legislative issue, two further substantive issues focus on the problems facing victims of rape in police, hospital and community contact, as well as the politics of rape and rape law reform.

Proceedings of a National Conference on Rape Law Reform, held in Hobart, Tasmania from 28-30 May 1980


  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Resolutions

I. The United States example

  • Reforming rape laws - The Michigan experience
    Virginia Blomer Nordby

II. The substantive law

  • Rape law reform - proposals for reforming the substantive law
    Helen Coonan
  • Law reform and rape under the Tasmanian Criminal Code
    W.J.E. Cox
  • Reform of the law of the Australian Capital Territory relating to rape and other sexual offences
    Arthur Watson
  • Rape in marriage and the South Australian law
    Peter A. Sallmann

III. The law of evidence

  • Evidence and the role of the jury in trials for rape
    Jocelynne A. Scutt
  • Rape victims in court - the Western Australian example
    Liza Newby
  • Rape victims in court - the South Australian experience
    Rosemary O'Grady and Belinda Powell

IV. Police and community issues

  • Eradicating rape - a radical call for reform
    Joan Coxsedge
  • Police attitudes and problems in rape law and rape law reform
    Colin Fogarty
  • Hospital care for victims of sexual assault
    Lee Henry
  • Women Against Rape - community care for victims of sexual assault
    Meredith Carter and Rosalind Harris

V. The political issues

  • The politics of rape - a politician's perspective
    Carol Treloar
  • The politics of rape - a feminist perspective
    Marjorie Levis

V. Appendices

  • Appendix I

    • Notes for workshop participants
    • Workshop leaders and rapporteurs
    • List of workshop participants
    • Results from workshops
  • Appendix II
    • Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Law
    • Women's Electoral Lobby Draft Bill on Sexual Offences and associated law reform proposals
    • Royal Commission on Human Relationships Recommendations in Relation to Rape and Other Sexual Offences
  • Appendix III
    • Programme from the National Conference on Rape Law Reform, Hobart 28-30th May, 1980
    • Background notes on contributors
  • Appendix IV
    • Selected bibliography on rape law and rape law reform