Historical review of sexual offence and child sexual abuse legislation in Australia: 1788–2013


The report provides an overview of the socio-political factors and events that have influenced the development of Australia’s child sexual abuse legislation from 1788-2013.

Key developments in relevant legislation during this period which are discussed in detail in the report include:

  • the decriminalisation of homosexual acts between consenting males
  • the removal of gendered language from legislation to enable the law to deal with matters involving male victims, female offenders and same sex offences
  • broadening the definition of sexual intercourse
  • introduction of specific legislation relating to child pornography
  • introduction of mandatory reporting laws.

Prepared by the Australian Institute of Criminology for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.