Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Tough new laws for sex offenders

The Victorian Government will introduce tougher laws to protect people from serial sex offenders.

Premier John Brumby has announced plans to extend supervision orders to cover sex offenders who attacked adults. The orders previously only applied to convicted child sex offenders.

Under the new laws, serial rapists could be made to wear electronic bracelets or be confined to houses within prisons.

Mr Brumby said the new laws will target the worst offenders who continue to pose a risk.

"There will be a range of mechanisms including reporting, not being able to move house, informing the department if you are planning to move interstate," he said.

"A whole series of steps in place to ensure those who have committed the worse crimes in the past are properly supervised or monitored post release."

Civil libertarians have expressed reservations about new laws on sex offenders.

Liberty Victoria says the proposed laws may affect the rehabilitation of sex offenders.

Liberty Victoria spokesman Brian Walters SC says the Government has not justified the need for such changes.

"Clearly there's a community value in having someone reintegrated into the community and if they're under extended supervision by the authorities, that stops that process in its tracks," he said.

"It smacks of populist policy without careful consideration of the effect this will have on the criminal justice system and on human rights."

The shadow Attorney-General Robert Clark says the proposed laws do not go far enough.

"We believe that laws to protect the community against serious offenders shouldn't just apply to sex offenders. They should apply to all serious offenders who are high risk to the community, including murders and arsonists," he said.

Mr Brumby says the new laws would only apply to a handful of offenders.


Abusers free without treatment
HIGH-RISK sex offenders who need and want treatment are released without it because the state's only rehabilitation centre is ridiculously under-resourced, says a psychologist who worked on the program for a decade.

WA sex offenders missing out on rehab
It has been revealed that over the past year more than 60 per cent of sex offenders released from Western Australian jails did not complete rehabilitation programs targetting their crimes.

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