Bettina Arndt

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Bettina Arndt

The Spectator

31 January 2022


Last year the New South Wales Parliament was hoodwinked into passing draconian legislation as a result of false statistics about sexual assault. These figures, published on the Law Reform Commission website, wrongly claimed five times more sexual assaults as were actually reported and underestimated ten-fold the proportion of such cases determined in court.

Those inaccurate statistics provided the framework for a campaign to ensure passage of controversial sexual consent laws through parliament. They were widely used to scare parliamentarians and the public into believing that our criminal justice system was failing rape victims.

It has now been proved that the Commission knew their data was wrong before the legislation was introduced but kept quiet. Within two weeks of the bill being passed, they suddenly published a correction on their website.

Was this timing a coincidence or a deliberate tactic to ensure smooth passage of these new laws?

In March last year I questioned the shockingly low figure of two per cent which was being claimed as the conviction rate for rape cases in NSW, showing the data suggested a very different picture, with every effort being made to push sexual assault cases through to trial.

Greg Andresen, one of the most tenacious researchers working on men’s issues, then spent the next nine months on the case, starting with writing to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) which collects most of the relevant data, seeking clarification. BOCSAR confirmed they had no idea where that two per cent figure had come from and Greg embarked on an investigation seeking to ascertain the real statistics.

He’s put together a timeline of the resulting paper trail as he pursued relevant authorities to find out what happened. At the heart of the problem was a 2020 NSW Law Reform Commission report on the proposed sexual consent legislation which recommended against the enthusiastic/affirmative consent laws being promoted by AG Mark Speakman. The NSW Bar Association warned that these laws ‘would potentially criminalise many sexual relations’ and were likely ‘to result in significant injustice’.

The real purpose of these laws – requiring checking for consent every step of the way throughout lovemaking – is to find more men guilty of rape.

But the Commission’s report was used with great alacrity by the feminist lobby, who seized upon a key statistic included in the publication which claimed that only three per cent of people alleged to have committed sexual offences ended up with a finalised charge. NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller was quick to jump on board, quoted in The Telegraph saying, ‘last year we received more than 15,000 reports of sexual assault. But men continue to get away with it – less than two per cent of reports lead to guilty verdicts in court.’

Note that he’s talking about guilty verdicts, which are naturally less than the finalised charges that include unsuccessful cases. Either way, the tiny numbers are far off the mark.

The Commission screwed up big time, misrepresenting the true number of reported sexual assault incidents by a factor of more than five, which meant the proportion of persons of interest who faced a finalised charge for sexual offences was ten times what they claimed.

It took Greg nine months to get the authorities to acknowledge they’d published misleading data. On December 6, the Law Reform Commission finally published an extensive correction on their website, admitting they’d totally stuffed it. (Note – their correction is immensely confusing. If you plan to study it closely first read this guide, otherwise it will do your head in.)

It turns out that our criminal justice system isn’t failing rape victims. The Commission wrongly claimed five times as many cases of sexual assault incidents as were actually reported (14,171 versus 2,549).

The proportion of reported sexual offence cases determined in court was ten times more than the Commission first claimed – a leap from 3 to 30 per cent.

There were 323 sexual assault guilty verdicts: that is, 12.7 per cent of reported incidents led to a guilty verdict, not the 2 to 3 per cent originally claimed.

Sexual assault is being treated very seriously. BOCSAR figures show mean custodial sentences for sexual assault are among the highest of all offences, with 57 per cent of those convicted receiving custodial sentences. From March 2013 to September 2021, the number in prison for sexual assault more than doubled.

These statistics are readily available, yet our media and politicians instead chose to spend six months spreading alarmist misinformation based on the Commission’s wildly inaccurate statistics. ‘There will be many people screaming for action, screaming for law reform and screaming for cultural change,’ claimed Mark Speakman in one of many media stories quoting the misleading 2 to 3 per cent figures.

Check out this sequence of events. Thanks to Greg Andresen’s efforts, the relevant authorities were made aware that the Commission had misled the public by late September last year. The Commission acknowledged that BOCSAR was preparing a response to Greg’s enquiry – a tacit admission that they knew they had got it wrong.

‘We expect to have it finalised this week,’ a BOCSAR analyst told Greg on October 18.

Two days later, the new sexual consent reform bill was introduced into parliament and politicians lined up to show their woke credentials – one after another – quoting the 2 to 3 per cent figure as gospel, or screaming blue murder about the outrage of 15,000 sexual assaults complaints leading to such a low response. Green’s MP Tamara Smith was quoted in Hansard asking what kind of message is sent by the poor outcomes for this huge number of incidents, ‘The very architecture and fissures of the law around sexual assault have silenced and re-victimised mostly cisgendered women for so many decades.’

On November 18, Greg contacted BOCSAR to check on progress. The analyst claimed there had been ‘some complexity in resolving the differences between the figures’.

On November 23, the legislation sailed through parliament. Within two weeks, the detailed correction had suddenly appeared on the Commission’s website. Game over.

The Law Reform Commission failed in their duty to inform the parliament prior to debate of the sexual consent Bill that the report they tabled in November 2020 contained major errors. The Commission was aware this grossly misleading data was being used to manipulate parliamentarians into believing the criminal justice system required drastic reform – and yet they did nothing.

This should be a major scandal and I need your help in ensuring it doesn’t pass unnoticed.

Here’s a draft letter to send to the NSW Premier and other members of parliament demanding a proper investigation of how this happened. With Victoria promising to introduce affirmative consent legislation this year and pressure for other states to follow suit, people living elsewhere should send the letter to their own parliamentarians and policymakers to warn about the duping of the public which has taken place in NSW.

On a light note, one of my correspondents has sent in this wonderful British television skit about pre-coital agreements from over a decade ago. It’s telling that these comedians assumed a signed and sealed pre-bonking deal would do the trick. Little did they know what the feminists had in store for us all, with the affirmative consent model requiring enthusiastic yelps right through the proceedings to avoid illegal behaviour. Wouldn’t they have fun with that absurd notion?

But sadly, this whole business is deadly serious, speaking to the capture of important government bodies by the feminist lobby which will stop at nothing in their quest to tilt the justice system even further to disadvantage men.

Read more of Bettina Arndt on Substack.