Public Advocate calls for review of s216 Criminal Code

Queensland Public Advocate John Chesterman has released a report that provides a thorough exploration of section 216 of the Criminal Code 1899 (Qld).

As the report details, section 216 criminalises any sexual activity involving a person with an ‘impairment of the mind’, which has been interpreted to have broad application such that it includes ‘not only people who have impaired decision-making ability, but those with disabilities that have no impact on decision-making ability’.1

The report, ‘A discussion of section 216 of the Queensland Criminal Code: A call to review the criminalisation of sexual relationships involving people with an impairment of the mind’, explores section 216 in detail, including:

  • contemporary perspectives of society regarding the concept of disability
  • application of the section in the Queensland criminal justice system
  • approaches employed across other jurisdictions regarding the rights of people with disability to engage in sexual relationships, and
  • the compatibility of the provision with current international, Australian, and Queensland legal frameworks.

The report calls on the Queensland Government to refer section 216 to the Queensland Law Reform Commission for review.

1 Office of the Public Advocate, ‘A discussion of section 216 of the Queensland Criminal Code’ (Report, January 2022) 5.

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