Criminal Legislation (Child Sexual Abuse) Bill

20 June 2018

I have made a considered effort to make contributions to bills which have come before the House and respond to recommendations of the Royal Commissions into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, of which was pioneered by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

The objects of this Bill are as follows:

(a) to create an offence of failing to reduce or remove the risk of child abuse,

(b) to replace offences of indecent assault and act of indecency with offences of sexual touching and sexual act and to create a new offence of sexually touching where the alleged victim is a young person under the special care of the accused person,

(c) to increase the penalty for persistent sexual abuse of a child to imprisonment for life and to provide that the offence occurs if there is an unlawful sexual relationship between the accused person and a child,

(d) to introduce a new offence of grooming an adult to procure a child under his or her care for an unlawful sexual activity and to extend an existing offence of grooming a child,

(e) to permit the prosecution of a child sexual offence where the exact date on which it occurred is uncertain and a change in the law or the age of the child makes it difficult to determine which offence to prosecute,

(f) to require proceedings against children or young persons for offences relating to the production, dissemination or possession of child abuse material to be approved by the Director of Public Prosecutions and to provide exceptions and defences to those offences where the material depicts only the accused person or where the accused person is under the age of 18 years and a reasonable person would consider that its possession by the accused person is acceptable,

(g) to create an offence of failing to report a child abuse offence,

(h) to give retrospective effect to the repeal of a provision that prevents the prosecution of certain historical child abuse offences,

(i) to permit a court when sentencing a person for a sexual offence that was committed when the person was a child to order that the person is not to be treated as a registrable person in respect of that offence,

(j) to provide that in sentencing for historical child sexual offences the sentencing is to be in accordance with current sentencing patterns and practices,

(k) to permit a Judge in a trial for a prescribed sexual offence to inform the jury as to certain matters relating to the reasons why there may be differences in a complainants account,

(l) to make a number of statute law amendments.