Australian Government Proposes Harsher Sentences For Paedophiles
The new legislation, which will be introduced to parliament next week, will make it harder for convicted paedophiles to get bail or parole and add sentences together to run consecutively, rather than concurrently.
According to claims made by the Australian government, nearly one in three offenders are not being locked up - and when they are the average sentence is only around 18 months.
Attorney-General Christian Porter said in a statement: "It simply beggars belief that nearly a third of all child sex offenders who were sentenced last year were not required to spend a single day behind bars, despite the devastating and life-long impacts that their crimes have on their young victims and their families.
"And when jail terms were handed out, the average length of time that offenders spent in custody was just 18 months.
"These changes will ensure that a jail term becomes the starting point for all child sex offenders, including a new life term for the worst offenders."
The proposed changes would introduce mandatory minimum sentences for convicted paedophiles and hand out life sentences for the worst offences. It would also stop judges and juries from taking a convict's previous character into account.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has said he hopes to get the laws through as quickly as possible.
He told 7 News: "It's not a silver bullet, but it sends a clear message of deterrence.
"We need to be realistic about the threat and we need to lock up those people that are doing the wrong thing."
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Dutton said: "The message we are sending to paedophiles is that it won't matter how good their lawyer is, a prison cell will be waiting for them when they are convicted."
Announcing the news in January, Dutton said the register would be 'publicly available and hosted by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC)'.
Police in every state and territory across Australia would be responsible for the register and tasked with providing, vetting and managing the offenders' information.
Dutton said: "It will send a clear message that Australia will not tolerate individuals preying on the most vulnerable members of the community - our children.
"The abuse and exploitation of children is a global epidemic that is becoming more prevalent, more organised and more extreme."
Featured Image Credit: ACIC