Police chief’s app proposal faces criticism.

19 March 2021

Written by: Indira Maysa Lubis

Experts and sexual assault survivors slammed Police Commissioner Mick Fuller's app for consent idea.

The New South Wales Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has faced criticism from sexual assault advocates and the general public after proposing an app that enables people to digitally record consent before they engage in sexual intercourses.

After feedback, Mr Fuller himself deemed his proposal as “the worst idea I have all year” in an interview with ABC radio later that day.

“I’m just suggesting, is it part of the solution? Now, maybe it’s not. But if we don’t do something, more and more women are going to come forward seeking justice for sexual violence,” he said.

“Whether the app floats or not, I think it’s irrelevant … I think it’s about understanding that this crime is on the increase … and we need to confront it whether that’s through technology or education and training or through other ideas.”

Within the last 24 hours, sexual assault advocates and the general public have voiced their criticism over Commissioner Fuller’s idea.

Leader of the Teach Us Consent petition Chanel Contos told The Sydney Morning Herald that Commissioner Fuller’s idea would be a “bad band-aid solution” to sexual assaults as it risks the miscommunication of the nature of consent.

“Consent can be taken back at any time, and an app couldn’t account for that … Consent isn’t a single sentence. It’s how people interact with each other as a whole,” she said.

University of Sydney’s Senior Law Lecturer Andrew Dyer mentioned how the proposed app could lead to victim blaming.

“The proposal is well-intentioned [but] it would seem that the perpetrators of sexual assaults might well gain more protection from this than victims,” Mr Dyer told ABC.

Many people on Twitter have also voiced their frustration over the simplification of consent.

In response to public criticism, Mr Fuller said he was “Okay” and that he understood that there’s no “overnight fix” to this issue.

“We may never talk about the app again, but I hope we do talk about consent,” he said.

According to the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, sexual assault increased by 10 percent in 2020, with approximately 15,000 women coming forward. However, only two percent of those cases have led to guilty verdicts in court.

 

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Photo: Person holding smartphone by John Tuesday available HERE and used under a Creative Commons Attribution. The image has not been modified.