Personal safety

Working with vulnerable people

For information on registering to work with vulnerable people (including volunteer work), as an individual or an organisation, go to the Consumer, Building and Occupational Services (CBOS) website.

Office of the Public Guardian Tasmania

The Public Guardian promotes and protects the rights and interests of people with impaired decision-making ability in Tasmania, in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

It safeguards adults with impaired decision-making ability from abuse, neglect and exploitation, and fosters services to help people with disability.

The Public Guardian can also act as a guardian to support or make decisions on behalf of a person with impaired decision-making ability. It can advocate for the rights and interests of the people it represents when appointed to do so by the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Go to the Public Guardian’s website for information about:

  • how to apply for a guardianship order
  • enduring guardianship
  • enduring power of attorney
  • resolving disputes with advance care directives

The law about rape has changed: what is different

Since August 2022, the laws have been changed to make it clear that the sexual behaviour called ‘stealthing’ is rape.

This sends a strong message that stealthing will not be tolerated by our community; and that people who do this will be punished, with a maximum sentence of 21 years in jail.

What is stealthing

Stealthing is when a person deliberately does one of three things without the consent or against the wishes of someone they have sex with:

  • doesn’t wear a condom
  • removes a condom
  • damages a condom.

It doesn’t matter if these are done before sex or during it.

But, the person who wants a condom to be used must first have let the other person know they want a condom used.

If the other person agrees to use a condom — but then does not use one, or deliberately removes it or damages it without the other person knowing or agreeing — then there is no consent to that type of sex, and it is rape.

What is the effect of stealthing

Stealthing can result in unplanned pregnancy and diseases being passed on. Stealthing can also cause ongoing mental harm.

What should I do if I have experienced stealthing

If you have experienced a sexual partner damaging or removing a condom against your wishes, consider contacting Tasmania Police as soon as possible to make a complaint.

You can go to the Emergency Department at a hospital for a forensic examination . This will collect and record evidence that may be then used in any prosecution.

It may be important to retain any evidence that you have (such as the damaged condom) or making notes of what you or the other person said or did.

We recommend visiting the 24-hour Sexual Assault Support Service website or calling 1800 697 877. They can help you with support and advice.

What will happen to me if I damage a condom or remove it on purpose

If you commit stealthing in any form, you are committing the serious crime of rape.

It is highly likely you will receive a criminal conviction and a jail sentence.

Many employers require criminal history checks, so a criminal conviction may prevent you finding work.

A conviction will mean you can’t register to work or volunteer with vulnerable children and adults. This will prevent you from working in many areas, such as teaching, child care, sports coaching, law, disability services and more.

You could be added to the Community Protection Offender Register in Tasmania (sometimes called the sex offenders list). This means even after serving your prison sentence, you will need to advise Tasmania Police of your address, phone numbers, email address, social media accounts, passwords, if you are travelling interstate, and all interactions you have with young people.

View the stealthing fact sheet (PDF, 127.4 KB)


The law about strangulation has changed, what is different

In the past if someone choked, suffocated or strangled another person without killing them, they could be charged with crimes including assault, grievous bodily harm or attempted murder.

The change in Tasmania’s law means that strangulation is identified as a crime in itself. It is titled ‘strangulation’ but applies equally to choking and suffocation as well. This has been done to send a strong message to the Tasmanian community that strangulation is a crime and it will be punished.

Strangulation now has a maximum sentence of 21 years in jail.

What is strangulation

Choking, suffocation and strangulation must be done deliberately and could happen in many different ways, including actions such as:

  • Applying pressure to someone’s throat or neck with your hands, arms or legs;
  • Suffocating someone with an item such as a pillow, a rope or a plastic bag; or
  • Holding someone underwater.

Why has the law been changed

Choking, suffocation and strangulation are very dangerous actions and have resulted in many deaths in Tasmania and across Australia.

Some people who experience family violence are choked, suffocated or strangled as part of that violence. Research suggests that if a person does this to their intimate partner they could later do other violent acts that result in death.

The law has been changed to make sure everyone in Tasmania is aware of how serious this behaviour is and to punish people if they commit the offence.

What should I do if I have experienced strangulation

If someone has choked, suffocated or strangled you, it is important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible as it can have serious physical effects including death.

You should consider making a complaint to Tasmania Police, by calling 000 in an emergency, or 131 444 if you are not in an emergency situation.

The sooner you make a complaint the sooner you can be protected from the person who has hurt you.

You may also wish to take some photos of any marks or injuries you may have suffered as these can be helpful if the matter ends up in court.

The offence can still be committed if it does not cause an injury, like marks, swelling or bruising. An absence of any of these things should not stop you from taking action.

What will happen to me if I strangle someone

If you deliberately choke, suffocate or strangle someone you are committing a serious crime. It is highly likely you will receive a criminal conviction and a jail sentence.

Many employers require criminal history checks which may prevent you finding employment. If you have a conviction for this offence it is also very unlikely you will be able to secure a qualification to work with vulnerable people which can prevent you from working in many roles and professions.

View the strangulation fact sheet (PDF, 120.1 KB)

Last updated: 2 October 2023