Release date: 05/05/2022

Child sex offenders will face longer jail terms in a proposed major sentencing overhaul designed to increase maximum penalties and reduce leniency.

In tough new laws to be put to State Parliament today, the Malinauskas Labor Government is pushing to fulfil a vital election commitment that will better protect children and empower authorities to crack down on abuse.
More severe punishments will apply to a host of crimes targeting our most vulnerable.

These include significantly increasing the maximum penalty for gross indecency with or in the presence of a child from five years to fifteen years in prison, while those caught in possession of a child sex doll face more than a decade behind bars.

This Government is also cracking down on predators who download, share or create abhorrent child abuse material.

Age categories for vile image-based offending will be scrapped, meaning offenders – who can face a lesser penalty when the age of their victim is unknown – will no longer be shown unjustifiable leniency.

A standard maximum penalty will apply regardless of the child’s age, and their apparent age can be into taken account by the judge in sentencing.

Labor’s package will also help police hunt online predators by strengthening Carly’s Law, which clamps down on offenders who use the internet to lie about their age and attempt to meet with children.

The change will make it clear any communication is covered by this offence when the perpetrator believes they are talking to a child online – even if it is an uncover police officer – and gives authorities greater confidence to intercept predators before they can cause harm.


Quotes

Attributable to Attorney-General Kyam Maher

We want our state to be the toughest in the nation when it comes to protecting kids and punishing predators.

Labor has listened to survivors of child sex abuse, their families and the wider public, and we are well aware of the need for tougher action on the monsters who prey on our most vulnerable.

These predators inflict lifelong and devastating consequences on their victims and the penalties imposed must reflect that.

Increasing maximum penalties across the board sends a clear message to the perpetrators of these horrific crimes that this abuse will not be tolerated, and any instances will be met with lengthy jail terms.

Bolstering Carly’s Law – a vital tool for law enforcement to track down people who seek to exploit children online – will ensure the law on these crimes is rock solid while giving police more confidence to stop predators in their tracks.

These sweeping reforms make it clear we will always prioritise the safety of children and families in line with community expectations.

Below is a table of the relevant child sex offence, its current maximum penalty and the proposed new maximum penalty.