The Palaszczuk Government will strengthen tough laws to protect the community from child sex offenders, by extending strict monitoring conditions for life and creating stronger powers for the police and the courts.
The new elements to be debated in Parliament this week include:-
- applying new monitoring arrangements to child sex offenders who have been on a Dangerous Prisoner (Sex Offender) Order
- reducing the threshold and expanding the types of conditions, for the police to apply for court orders for all child sex offenders.
The Premier said the changes were careful and deliberate and acted with the best legal advice.
She urged the Opposition to support the government’s sensible measures.
“I feel exactly the way everyone feels about these crimes,” the Premier said.
“We have checked, double checked and triple checked these measures to ensure their success.”
As well, the Palaszczuk Government will provide the Queensland Police Service with extra funding to provide extra resources for surveillance and enforcement operations in relation to these offenders.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said that while Queensland already had the strongest legislation in the country, this week’s amendments would keep the community even safer.
“This Government stands with victims. We stand with the community and against those who prey on our children,” Mrs D’Ath said.
“Currently, a serious sex offender who has served their prison term can continue to be detained in prison or released into the community under a strict court-ordered supervision order under the Dangerous Prisoner (Sex Offender) Act,” Mrs D’Ath said.
“This system was introduced by Labor in 2003 and has worked well to make our communities safer.
“In 2004, further laws were brought in to protect the community from those individuals who sexually offend against children under the Child Protection (Offender Reporting and Offender Prohibition Order) Act.
“But the community has demanded more and this government will provide more.
“Under the changes we’re announcing today, when a child sex offender’s Order (under DPSOA) ceases, they will now become automatic reportable offenders under CPROA for the rest of their life.
Police and Corrective Services Minister Ryan said the new regime would ensure the Police Commissioner will know where these offenders are and what they’re doing.
“The community can have confidence in the fact that these offenders will be monitored and will have strict reporting conditions,” Minister Ryan said.
What this means, is the police will know –
- Where they live
- Where they travel
- Any contact with children
- Any changes to their appearance, such as tattoos or distinguishing marks
- Details of their phone and internet connections
- Details of their social media accounts, interactions and importantly passwords
“And if they fail to meet these reporting conditions, they face up to five years in jail,” Mrs D’Ath said.
“I understand the community’s horror at these crimes. This is every parent’s worst nightmare. We have heard the concerns and are taking strong action.
“This legislation will offer even more protection for our children, and reassurance that these people will be monitored into the future,” Mrs D’Ath said.
Minister Ryan said there would be another safeguard: police could apply for “Offender Prohibition Orders” for any convicted child sex offender in the community that they had renewed concerns about. These changes are not limited just to post-DPSOA child sex offenders.
These orders would place restrictions on their movements.
“This would give police the power to stop someone living or working near a school, for example, or going to a children’s playground,” he said.
“We’re lowering the threshold for what constitutes ‘concerning conduct’ and expanding the types of conditions a court can impose, including enforcing GPS tracking, making counselling sessions compulsory, and directing them where to live.
“Whereas now police must have concerns for a child’s ‘sexual safety’, we’ll broaden that definition to relate to a reportable offender posing a risk to the ‘safety and wellbeing of any child or children’.”
The amendments to the Police Powers and Responsibilities and Other Legislation Amendment Bill will be introduced and debated tomorrow.