Malvern Electorate

Bill to close the loophole on historical child sex offences

Sunday 28 April 2024

Bill to close the legal loophole on historical child sex offences

For too long, paedophiles have exploited a legal loophole allowing prison sentences for historical child sexual offences to be suspended.

This means that rather than serving jail time for their horrendous crimes, child abusers are walking free.

While the former Liberals and Nationals Government abolished suspended sentences a decade ago, judges continue to apply the sentencing laws that existed at the time of the offending.

For historical child sexual offences, this has allowed the abusers to ask for suspended sentences. Too often, courts have agreed.

Now, the Victorian Liberals and Nationals are introducing legislation to the Victorian Parliament to close this loophole.

Under our Bill, jail will mean jail for child sexual offenders. No excuses. No exceptions.

Under our Bill, historical child sexual offences will be sentenced under current sentencing law with no suspension of jail terms allowed.

The 2017 Federal Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommended that ‘State and territory governments should introduce legislation to provide that sentences for child sexual abuse offences should be set in accordance with the sentencing standards at the time of sentencing instead of at the time of the offending’.

The Victorian Labor Government accepted this recommendation in July 2018 yet has failed to act, despite New South Wales implementing this reform in 2018.

Shadow Attorney-General, Michael O’Brien, said: “For six years, Labor’s failure to close this loophole has allowed convicted paedophiles to walk free.

“Our Bill implements the recommendation of the Federal Royal Commission, will ensure jail means jail for child sexual offenders and will help provide justice for victims of historical child sexual abuse.”

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