Australian Senate Debates Strengthening Child Sexual Abuse Laws

While Senate debates the proposed bill, multiple child sexual abuse offenders are brought to justice

The Australian Senate resumed debate on June 11 on the Coalition governments landmark bill to amend laws relating to sexual crimes against children. Attorney-General Christian Porter has called for the Labor Party to change its stance and support the tough new reforms.

The bill proposes a swathe of reforms intended to fix loopholes in the law that, for example, saw 28 percent of convicted federal child sex offenders spend only one day in jail in the 2018-19 financial year—a figure that jumped to 39 percent this last year.

“Sexual crimes against children destroy lives,” Porter said in a statement on June 11.

“The depraved individuals who prey on these most vulnerable members of our community for their own sexual gratification or financial gain, are too often the subject of short jail terms and are released into the community without any supervision,” said Porter, referring to an average 18-month jail sentence under the current law.

In the statement, Porter noted that this fell short of community expectations on penalties for such crimes.

The attorney-general said that as well as introducing mandatory minimum sentences, the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Sexual Crimes Against Children and Community Protection Measures) Bill 2019 includes a new maximum life penalty for the most serious Commonwealth offences and a presumption against bail to help keep offenders in custody while they face trial.

“To date, Labor has not supported these initiatives,” said Porter in the statement.

Porter noted that Labor once previously supported legislation introducing mandatory sentences for people smugglers “during the failed Labor-Greens alliance government” in 2010, and expressed his hope that cracking down on child sex offenders “should now also warrant Labors support.”

Greens Party Candidate Charged with Child Sex Offences

An Australian Greens Party candidate, 57-year-old Sydney man Jonathan Doig, faced court on June 10 and was granted bail, for allegedly paying to direct and view the live abuse of a child in the Philippines online.

According to an Australian Federal Police (AFP) press release on June 10, the offender was uncovered by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre that provided intelligence to the AFP about the details of a payment from a New South Wales resident to a known child exploitation facilitator in the Phillippines.

During a search of the mans home police seized a number of electronic devices including a mobile phone, two laptops, and a hard drive for forensic examination.

Tasmanian Jailed for Less Than 2 Years for Child Abuse and Bestiality Material

A 20-year-old Tasmanian man was jailed on June 15 after he repeatedly obtained, accessed, and transmitted child abuse material and bestiality material, according to the AFP.

The man was sentenced by the Hobart Supreme Court to 20 months imprisonment—2 months longer than the average “short jail term” that the proposed bill aims to correct. His imprisonment comes with a non-parole period of 10 months.

The Tasmanian Joint Anti-Child Abuse Exploitation Team arrested and charged the man on Dec. 19, 2019, following a 10-month investigation.

Former Teacher Released on Bail After Pleading Guilty

A 31-year-old Queensland man and former teacher pleaded guilty on June 12 to a number of child sexual abuse offences following an investigation by the AFP.

It was alleged the man had been sending indecent images and videos to female students under the age of 16 in the UK, as well as engaging with them in sexualised chat. The two students made formal complaints to UK authorities, who reached out to Australian authorities for assistance.

A search warrant was executed on Jan. 29, 2019, with the assistance of NSW police child exploitation unit and AFP. Authorities seized a number of electronic devices from the mans Bella Vista home in Sydney.

He was later released on strict bail and suspended from the NSW Department of Education.

The AFP laid additional charges on the man following a review of all evidence. He pleaded guilty to three charges. The matter is adjourned until Aug. 18, 2020.

Sydney Man Charged for Possession of Extreme Child Abuse Material

A 68-year-old Lakemba man faced court on June 12 over allegations he transmitted the most serious category of child abuse material online, the AFP announced in a media release.

The AFP investigation was launched following a report from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children in the United States. The report alleged an Australian iRead More – Source