Sentencing sexual violence

The Attorney-General has asked us to review how sexual assault and rape offences are sentenced.

The Terms of Reference explains what we are reviewing in detail.

This work is part of a wider review that also asks us to review an aspect of domestic violence sentencing.

What we are reviewing

We are looking at the types of sentences a court can give to a person who commits rape or sexual assault, and when they can be used.

We are looking at how courts sentence rape and sexual assault now and whether sentences have changed over time.

We are also asking the community if they think current sentencing for rape and sexual assault reflects the seriousness of this offending or should change.

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with the latest news and information about our review of sexual violence sentencing.

Next steps

An image of a timeline

Preliminary submissions have now closed and are available to read on our website.

Content warning

This content has information about sexual violence offences that readers may find distressing. If this raises any issues for you and you need to talk to someone, help is available:

Consultation Papers

The Council has produced two publications looking at the issues and presenting our research on sentencing practices for sexual assault and rape offences:

  1. The Consultation Paper – Issues and Questions is our main consultation document.

    It summarises the key issues that have been identified as part of QSAC’s preliminary consultation and research.  The paper identifies 25 questions for stakeholders to respond to.

  2. The Consultation Paper – Background is a detailed reference document.

The paper provides a summary of the Council’s legal and other research to date, and presents information about the nature and context of sexual violence offending.  It summarises Queensland legislation and case law that guides sentencing in this area as well as the approach in other jurisdictions, data on sentencing practices in Queensland, and information about how people sentenced for these offences are managed in custody and in the community. The aim of this background document is to help inform responses to the issues and questions identified.

General Community Summary

Short on time? Our General Community Summary has information about the main issues in our Consultation Paper. It includes specific questions for community members to respond to.

How can I tell the Council what I think?

The best way to tell us your views is to make a submission. The submission deadline is 10.00 am, Monday, 22 April 2024.


We have prepared an online form to assist you.


Email your submission to including ‘Review of sentencing for sexual assault and rape offences' in the subject line.


Post your submission to:

Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council

GPO Box 2360

Brisbane Qld 4001

Key dates

We will deliver our final report to the Attorney-General by 16 September 2024.

Supporting information

Terms of reference

Background Paper 1, Review of sentencing for sexual assault and rape offences: About the Terms of Reference – Part 1

Background information – sentencing sexual assaults and rape

Sentencing spotlight on rape

Sentencing spotlight on sexual assault

Sentencing spotlight on stalking

Working Paper on the Development of the Queensland Crime Harm Index - Working paper by Janet Ransley and Kristina Murphy. Based on an unpublished report to the Queensland Police Service by Janet Ransley, Kristina Murphy, David Bartlett, Susanne Karstedt and Harley Williamson (2018), prepared at the request of the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council.

Sentencing Practices for Sexual Assault and Rape Offences - Literature review prepared at the request of the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council by Drs Lacey Schaefer, Michelle Sydes, Danielle Harris, Gemma Williams and Caitlyn Egan, Griffith Criminology Institute (2024). Any views expressed in this report are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Council.

Brisbane Consultation Forum - the Council held a consultation forum in Brisbane on 11 March 2024 as part of its review into the sentencing of sexual assault and rape offences. Below are video recordings of some of the keynote speakers from that event.

  • Angela Lynch - this keynote presentation is by Angela Lynch AM, Queensland Sexual Assault Network Executive Officer and Chair of the National Women’s Safety Alliance Sexual Violence Working Group.
  • Nadine McKillop - this keynote presentation is by Nadine McKillop, Associate Professor in Criminology and Justice, Co-Leader of the Sexual Violence Research and Prevention Unit at the University of the Sunshine Coast, and current Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Sexual Aggression: An international interdisciplinary forum for research, theory and practice.