We, the undersigned, call on the Federal and State Governments of Australia to work together in order to bring about much needed review and reforms of our sentencing laws for crimes of child sexual abuse. We believe such laws must be uniform across all states, and believe that whatever is needed for this to be achieved must be investigated by a board of Federal and State representatives whose task it should be to bring about this unified approach and much needed reform of our Justice system.
We call on the Governments to introduce harsher penalties for child sex offenders with longer prisons sentences under the same conditions as other serious offenders. We believe that such penalties need to be appropriate sentences in accordance with the severity of the crimes of sexual abuse against children (we do not believe this is reflected under the current sentencing laws), and for such offenders to serve their time in high security prisons under the same conditions as other serious offenders, not as is often the case under the current law, where child abusers often serve no more than the non parole period of a couple of years, and in many cases in prison farms or minimum security prisons (acknowledging that for the sake of order within the prisons that child abusers will need to be segregated). Further, we also call for the introduction of laws that keep serial paedophiles in jail indefinitely; the consideration for the naming of convicted paedophiles on a national, public registry such as has been introduced in WA. We understand that there is much debate on the benefits of such a registry with some claiming there are no benefits. If this be the case, we demand something be done to address the issue of what happens when these paedophiles are released back into society and how the law must always place the safety of children as it’s priority.
A person who has suffered at the hands of child sexual abuse is robbed of their life, their liberties, dignity and all opportunities of living a “normal life” and it is offensive to hear people calling for the rights of offenders to be considered “once they have served time”. This is particularly offensive when the time served does not fit the severity of the crime committed. We do not believe it is fair that convicted child sex abusers have the right to return to their normal life, within a community that is unaware of the vile acts they have committed, having their right to privacy protected, when this can never be the case for those that suffer from the crimes committed by these perpetrators – which includes not just victims of the crime, but extends to the victims’ families also. We demand that this injustice be addressed so that, again, priority is given to protect the rights of victims and their families, as well as the innocent children within the community into which these offenders are released.
We demand that our current laws must be changed in order to seek true justice and to protect the rights of the innocent, rather than those of the guilty. We believe the current system has proven to be inadequate, which time and time again has been proven to favour the protection of the paedophiles’ rights rather than those of the innocent victims.
Current statistics on sentencing for crimes of child sexual abuse:
The average sentence handed down, for example in NSW, for child sexual abuse offences in the period from 2009 to 2010 was approximately 5 years, with a non parole period of around 3 years. Similar statistics apply to other states of Australia.
(*Crime and Justice Statistics from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics andResearch)
Please find attached a petition for harsher penalties for crimes of sexual abuse committed against children.