The heinous act of non-consensually removing a condom during sex, otherwise known as stealthing, has been criminalised in the ACT.

Widespread attention was bought to stealthing in 2017 when Yale student Alexandra Brodsky wrote a paper about the act of secretly removing a condom during sex and the vague laws surrounding it.

Now, the ACT has officially made stealthing a criminal offense.

The bill was originally bought forward by Canberra Liberals leader Elizabeth Lee in April of this year. It unanimously passed the ACT Legislative Assembly yesterday, officially deeming it a sexual assault crime in the territory.

“Stealthing is a traumatic thing for any person to go through and I am very proud that the ACT has passed nation-leading reforms to specifically criminalise this heinous act,” she said.

“We need to act proactively and send a clear message to the community that this behaviour is unacceptable, and a crime.”

When Lee originally bought the bill forward, she quoted a study by the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre and Monash University that found that out of 2000 people, one in three women and almost one in five men have reported that they’ve been victims of stealthing.

“Stealthing is an appalling thing to do to anyone … It violates bodily autonomy in the most intimate of moments and victims have spoken about the impact that it has on their ability to trust people,” she said.

ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury has previously spoken about the importance of defining the act of stealthing as a crime.

“A strong and clear criminal justice response to sexual offending is important, not only for victims and survivors but also the entire community,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Put simply, stealthing is rape.

“It is important that we have a society-wide culture that understands and promotes sexual safety and consent.”

The ACT is the first Australian territory or state to legally criminise stealthing. While Lee says the new law may not prevent the act altogether, she believes it’s positive progress.

“I am under no delusion that legislation alone will stop stealthing from happening, but it is a step in the right direction and, along with public awareness and education, I am confident that we can work together to stamp out this act.”