Tougher penalties for child sex offenders

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CONVICTED child sex offenders in the ACT will face tougher penalties and tighter reporting requirements under new laws to better protect the community.

Attorney General Simon Corbell introduced the Crimes (Child Sex Offenders) Amendment Bill in February, focusing on giving police extra powers to protect children and measures to reduce the risk of re-offence.

“This important legislation will ensure, as far as possible, the safety and protection of children from sexual assault and violence,” he said.

It will allow police to have prohibition orders issued by the court to ban convicted child sex offenders from going near, or working in schools, childcare centres and playgrounds or taking photographs of children.

These orders could apply for up to 5 years for an adult and one year for a young offender.

The bill requires registered offenders to report more personal information including email addresses, chat room user names and passport details, a measure to reduce the potential for offenders to target children through the internet.

“These laws aim to strengthen our approach to the monitoring and management of registered child sex offenders to reflect the seriousness and consequences of these crimes and prevent them from reoccurring.”

Mr Corbell said the bill increased penalties for 21 offences in the act from two to five years imprisonment, or from 200 to 500 penalty units, or both.

The ACT Greens police spokesperson Shane Rattenbury has welcomed the changes saying it is a good example of preventative law and order.

“The Greens strongly believe in this kind evidence based approach which is the best way to tackle crime”, he said.

“This can be contrasted with more reactive approaches where politicians promise to get tougher and tougher on criminals and lock them up for longer and longer after they are caught. These law and order auctions deliver a media headline but do nothing to actually reduce crime.”

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