The Palaszczuk Government is pursuing landmark reforms in State Parliament to provide fairer and more effective responses to victims of child sexual abuse.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said the reforms seek to implement key recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Mrs D’Ath said the Criminal Code (Child Sexual Offences Reform) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019, introduced today in State Parliament, also criminalises the possession, supply and production of child abuse objects.
“The sickening offence of child sexual abuse damages individuals and families, and has a ripple effect throughout communities,” she said.
“We’re committed to seeking justice for the victims of child sexual abuse and holding perpetrators to account.
“This legislation creates new offences for failing to report and failing to protect a child from institutional child sexual abuse, an extension of the offence of grooming, and reforms to sentencing, evidence law and jury directions.”
Other reforms outlined in the Bill include:
- Ensuring that the new failure to report offence applies to information gained during, or in connection with, a religious confession;
- Facilitating increased admissibility of evidence of other allegations or convictions of child sexual abuse against the accused persons;
- Excluding good character as a mitigating factor in sentencing an offender where that good character facilitated the child sexual offending; and
- Ensuring that offenders are sentenced in keeping with contemporary sentencing standards.
The Bill introduced today is the product of extensive consultation and consideration, including a public consultation process on a draft of the Bill earlier this year. This consultation process elicited over 50 submissions from various organisations, stakeholders and individuals.