Sexual Assault Trials Handbook Update 33 published

Update 33 of the Sexual Assault Trials Handbook includes:

[6-000] Recent sexual assault law on JIRS

The following recent cases have been added:


  • Decision Restricted [2021] NSWCCA 51 — Recent Law 25/4/2021


  • Culbert v R [2021] NSWCCA 38 — Recent Law 5/5/2021
  • Hillman v R [2021] NSWCCA 43 — Recent Law 26/4/2021
  • Aryal v R [2021] NSWCCA 2 — Recent Law 19/4/2021
  • Gale v R [2021] NSWCCA 16 — Recent Law 8/3/2021


  • Decision Restricted [2021] NSWCCA 51 — Recent Law 25/4/2021


  • Beattie v R [2020] NSWCCA 334 — Recent Law 30/4/2021

[7-500] Relevant literature — non-legal articles

Recording evidence and evidentiary issues in child sexual abuse cases:

At [7-1080] an article by medical practitioner C Lincoln, “Sexual assault: forensic examination in the living and deceased” has been added. This article provides an overview of various components of forensic sexual assault examination in both living and deceased persons. The detection of injury and biological material to support or exclude sexual activity requires a careful, methodical approach to ensure robust evidentiary value and an understanding of genito-anal anatomy and sexual physiology to interpret its significance for the courts.

Adult victims of sexual assault and the barriers to justice:

At [7-2000] a book published in 2020 (online pdf) by E McDonald et al, “Rape myths as barriers to fair trial process” has been added. This book examines how and why rape trials can re-traumatise complainants. It examines 30 matters prosecuted over a five-year period (January 2010 to September 2015) in New Zealand as well as 10 rape trials from the New Zealand Sexual Violence Court Pilot (November 2017 to November 2018) in relation to adult acquaintance rape cases where the central issue in dispute is consent. The researchers have captured the type and content of questions asked during a rape trial that cause the most distress to complainants.

At [7-2100] a report by P Tidmarsh and G Hamilton, “Misconceptions of sexual crimes against adult victims: barriers to justice” has been added. This Australian Institute of Criminology report published in 2020 finds that, despite the prevalence of sexual offending in our communities, there is a lack of understanding about the nature and dynamics of sexual crimes. Myths and misconceptions about sexual offending are common and may contribute to the high attrition rates of sexual offence cases throughout the criminal justice system. This study synthesises over 40 years of research to present an accurate and updated picture of sexual offending. With specialist knowledge, improvements can be made to the criminal justice responses and outcomes for victims of sexual crime.