New framework to guide consent messaging for young people

The Albanese Labor Government has today launched the Commonwealth Consent Policy Framework to ensure agencies provide young people with consistent messaging about consent, and to support a unified approach to sexual violence prevention across government.

The Commonwealth Consent Policy Framework: Promoting Healthy Sexual Relationships and Consent Among Young People (the Framework) establishes a definition of consent to inform policies, initiatives, and programs for young Australians.

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth emphasised the importance of a Framework to provide organisations with practical advice on how to empower young people to be drivers of cultural change.

“Ultimately, our goal is to end violence against women and children in one generation. To do this, we need to support young people to have safe and respectful relationships,” Minister Rishworth said.

“Through strong prevention messaging and initiatives that positively shift cultural attitudes around gender-based violence, we can ensure our young people understand how to establish and maintain healthy and safe relationships.

“Young people are at the heart of this cultural change, and we have an opportunity to ensure the messaging and support they receive to help them navigate their relationships is consistent, evidence based, and well-informed.”

The Consent Policy Framework provides a clear understanding of consent, underpinned by five concepts: consent is free and voluntary, consent is specific and informed, consent is affirmative and communicated, consent needs to be ongoing and mutual, and consent reflects the capacity of individuals.

Assistant Minister for Prevention of Family Violence Justine Elliot said the Framework will contribute to delivery of the goals of the First Action Plan under the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032.

“In Australia, one in five women and one in sixteen men has experienced sexual violence since the age of 15, with women most likely to experience this at the hands of a current or former partner,” Assistant Minister Elliot said.

“The Framework will support the Government’s work to address sexual violence through providing a shared understanding of consent, and creating a unified approach to preventing sexual and gender based violence.”

Chair of the National Association of Services Against Sexual Violence (NASASV), Nicole Lambert, highlighted the importance of consistency in messaging for young people.

“Young people can sometimes end up with contradictory messages about consent, which leads to further myths and misunderstandings about sexual violence,” Ms Lambert said.

“This framework will support a more unified message and better understanding in the community.”

Founder of Teach Us Consent, Chantel Contos, said the framework will be useful for a range of organisations who are trying to navigate discussions on consent.

“The framework makes an important contribution to ensuring messaging around the fundamentals of consent are clear and cohesive,” Ms Contos said.

"It will help community leaders and organisations provide consistent messaging to youth as we take a whole of community approach to eradicating sexual violence.

"It's great to see that the Government continues to consider consent education a national priority.”

More information on the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032 is available on the Department of Social Services website.

If you or someone you know is experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, domestic, family or sexual violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732, text 0458 737 732 or visit

If you are concerned about your behaviour or use of violence, you can contact the Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491 or visit