Monday, 11 January 2016

Victoria's Sentencing Advisory Council Report

The Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council is looking at what Judges take into account when judging sexual offences against children. The Council is to report in June to the Attorney-General Martin Pakula on the sentencing of sex offenders convicted of the sexual penetration of a child aged under 12.

What has become clear from the Council's own data is that the rape of adults has received a higher sentence that the rape of children over the past few years. Sexual penetration of a child under 12 is one of the seven serious offences targeted by the previous Government's baseline sentencing laws which were intended to increase jail terms for serious violence and sexual assault of children.  These laws have not worked as they were intended. The current median sentence for rape of an adult is 5 years and for rape of a child under 12 is 4 years.

There are no easy answers to this issue but it would seem that damaging a child's formative years and leaving them with a suspicion of males in authority,their own family members and blaming themselves for adult crimes should at least be seen as serious as raping an adult woman.  All of these are heinous crimes but it is interesting that children are still seen as less damaged than adults by sexual assault whereas those that work with these children understand the long term, insidious difficulties they can have.

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