According to attorney general Christian Porter, the criminals involved in child abuse have often been handed short sentences. Some were even released into the community without supervision.
In 2018, the Australian Federal Police received almost 18,000 reports of child exploitation. This shockingly high number almost doubles the one from the previous year.
The new bill suggests pedophiles receive a mandatory minimum sentence, which also limits bail for repeat offenders, as Mail Online reveals. It aims at handling online and overseas abusers, with new offenses being set up to target the operators of the websites known to publish child sex abuse content.
Data shows that under current laws, in 2019 a third of federally-convicted child sex offenders spent no time behind bars. The ones who did go to jail averaged only 18 months in prison.
Christian Porter said on Thursday:
“Sexual crimes against children destroy lives. It simply beggars belief that nearly a third of all child sex offenders who were sentenced last year were not required to spend a single day behind bars despite the devastating and life-long impacts that their crimes have on their young victims and their families.”
Although Labor has expressed concerns about a possible mandatory minimum sentencing, senators most likely won’t oppose the new law.
Additionally, on Wednesday, the opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, claimed his party would help the government in ‘any way possible’ to combat child abuse.
Albanese’s statement follows comments made by Peter Dutton, the home affairs minister, who told the parliament:
“The Australian Federal Police working with AUSTRAC and others is detecting more and more people who are depraved, who are online and who deserve to be caught and will be punished.”
The new bill would also include offenses for cases where the abuser subjects a child to cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment, or death. However, it will not be applied to people under the age of 18.
Moreover, the drastic adjustment to the law will also add a new offense for the grooming of third parties with the intention to obtain children for sexual abuse. This extension will target instances of offenders approaching parents and carers.
In relation to laws concerning child sexual abuse, in 2019, Mr. Dutton said:
“Sentences need to reflect community expectations and act as a significant deterrent to others, which is why these sorts of despicable crimes must result in significant penalties, not simply a slap on the wrist which is often the case.”
The mandatory minimum sentence in the new law will be five to seven years for the most serious pedophile cases. All Commonwealth child sex offenses will get from one to four years.
Head image grab: iheartintelligence.com