QLD introduce standard non-parole periods for child sex offences

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The lives of our children should be valued equally in every State and Territory of Australia.  Yesterday, Brett Hill was sentenced on 9 child sex offence charges in the Newcastle District Court, NSW, to 23 years and 6 months with a non-parole period of 17 years.  Last week, Frank Pardon was sentenced on 10 child sex offence charges in the Maroochydore District Court, QLD to 3 years suspended after serving 18 months.  An urgent review of sentencing legislation for child sex offences is required by the Queensland Government. 

It is the role of the government to ensure that our laws reflect the dignity and fundamental rights of citizens and, as a community we do not believe that this is true of current sentencing laws for crimes committed against children.  Research for the Australian Institute of Family Studies has shown the longer-term impact of child sexual abuse indicates that there may be a range of negative consequences for mental health and adjustment in childhood, adolescence and adulthood.  Effectively a child may receive a lifetime of negative consequences from the actions of an offender and, the current sentences being handed down are not reflective of these negative outcomes of the crime committed. 

​Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that,

“1. Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.”

Furthermore, the sentencing laws for these particular crimes no longer meet the expectation of the community.   Sex offences against children, the most vulnerable people in our society, should carry the heaviest sentences of all criminal acts.  At the very minimum there should be a set non-parole period that does not allow for a non-parole period that reduces the sentence by half.  We the undersigned, speak for the hundreds of thousands of children in our society that rely on adults for protection and, request the Queensland Government to urgently review the current legislation with regard to sentencing of child sex offences to better serve and protect our children.