Release date: 08/07/2022

Major changes to child sex offender laws that passed Parliament last night will see predators spend more time behind bars.

The Statutes Amendment (Child Sex Offences) Bill 2022, introduced in May, strived to fulfil a vital election commitment that will better protect children and empower authorities to crack down on abuse.

Among the changes, the Bill includes 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 could face more than a decade behind bars.

Online predators who download, share or create heinous child abuse material are also being targeted.

In summary, this Bill progresses two important election commitments made by the Government to:

  • Increase penalties on a range of child sex offences in the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (CLCA)
  • amends section 139A of the CLCA (‘Carly’s Law’) to 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.

It also updates the list of Registrable Offences in the Child Sex Offender Registration Act 2006.

Age categories for vile image-based offending will be scrapped, meaning offenders – who previously could have faced a lesser penalty when the age of the victim was unknown – will no longer be shown leniency, with such offences involving children of all ages now being penalised more harshly.


Attributable to Kyam Maher

Passing this important Bill means that South Australia is among the toughest states in the nation when it comes to protecting kids and punishing predators.

The Malinauskas Government takes a zero-tolerance approach to any heinous child sex crime.

The penalties imposed on predators now better reflect the life-long impacts left on their victims.

Our Government has listened to survivors of child sex abuse and their families, and we are proud to deliver tough new laws that will appropriately punish predators.