Wagga advocates have welcomed law reforms that shift conversations around consent "away from victim-blaming" in a move that has been "decades in the making".
The reforms introduced to NSW Parliament earlier this week mean defendants could only prove sex was consensual if they took active steps to obtain consent.
The proposed law is set to reinforce "the basic principle of common decency that consent is a free choice" involving mutual and ongoing communication and that it should not be presumed.
"Today brings us another step closer to implementing these important reforms that will set clearer boundaries for consensual sex and better support victim-survivors who courageously come forward to report sexual assault," Attorney-General Mark Speakman said.
"If you want to have sex with someone, then you need to do or say something to find out if they want to have sex with you too - under our reforms, it's that simple."
Wagga resident Melanie Rushby said this was a significant step in moving the conversation around sexual assault and sex crimes away from victim-blaming.
"It's shifting it away from asking 'did you say no to did you say yes'," she said.
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"This is healthy and great for both people involved in the relationship, casual or established.
"Moving the conversation to consent always has to be active and affirmative gives people the people to feel safe and say no if they are not comfortable."
The 30-year-old said that in 2021, the discourse around consent should be more positive, and this is a step closer to that.
"Consent is sexy," she said.
"It's not onerous. It doesn't ruin the mood. However, I think the proof will be in the pudding and when we see the first court cases and whether or not this shift in legislation is taken seriously in the courts."
Jenny Rolfe-Wallace, the Wagga Women's Health Centre management committee president, said she was pleased with the reforms, mainly because they were developed through consultation with sexual assault survivors.
She acknowledged the work of advocate Saxon Mullins who had been a "powerful force" by sharing her story to inspire change.
"Common sense consent should be the standard that we have in place," Ms Rolfe-Wallace said.
"The reform is about clarifying those grey areas, and they will make it easier to secure convictions where the consent is not provided.
"It creates a space for conversations and acknowledging that consent is about permission and how we show respect for ourselves and others because sex is something that happens with somebody, not to somebody, so of course it should be mutual."
Ms Rolfe-Wallace said the reforms also demonstrate that consent is continuous, that someone can agree to one thing and change their mind.
"At any point, a person retains their right to withdraw their consent," she said.
"This has been decades and decades in the making."
The reforms also include new jury directions for judges to give at trials to address misconceptions about consent. This includes that the way a person is dressed or that they have consumed alcohol or drugs does not indicate their consent.
The bill to effect the reforms was introduced to NSW Parliament earlier this week and is expected to become law in mid-2022.
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