Sentencing Reform for Sexual Crimes Against Children Long Overdue
The Carly Ryan Foundation has welcomed the Federal Government's action to reform sentencing for sexual crimes against children, after calling for legislation to be progressed since 2017 shortly after Carly's Law was introduced into the Commonwealth Criminal Code.
Founder and CEO Sonya Ryan said: "Sentencing for sexual crimes against children is woeful and urgent reforms are needed. Sentencing outcomes do not reflect the lifetime of suffering endured by survivors of child sexual abuse - if they survive - they're unjust and inadequate."
"Our laws should send a strong message not just to perpetrators that sexual crimes against kids will not be tolerated and the consequences will be harsh, but also to the courts about what the community expects when it comes to that harsh sentencing," Ms Ryan said.
"Maximum penalties are far too low and should be dramatically increased beyond the increases in this bill. Together with changes such as the presumption in favour of cumulative sentences which will prevent offenders doing time for multiple crimes all at once and instead keep them in until they've served every year for every offence, we should start seeing real jail time ordered by the courts.
"We remain concerned the mandatory minimums in this bill won't result in the harshest of penalties, especially when a guilty plea is entered which reduces the minimum. Sentencing of child sexual abuse crimes is long overdue but if pedophiles are back on the streets in no time despite doing mandatory jail time then we will be back to square one.
"Carly's Law is a crucial took for police so they have the ability to apprehend offenders before they harm a child. But if sexual abusers are only getting is a slap on the wrist as punishment for their crimes then victims, the community and police are all being let down in the process.
"It's time victims and preventing harm to more innocent children was the priority when it comes to sentencing. We know pedophiles cannot be cured, only managed, therefore the legal system must keep them out of our communities and ensure they are supervised properly if they're ever released."
Garry Newman, the 50-year-old paedophile who murdered 15-year-old Carly in 2007 south of Adelaide, posed as an 18-year-old musician from Melbourne to deceive her for 18 months through online contact and phone calls. Newman’s deceptive actions of lying about his age to Carly and pretending to be someone other than who he was, which ultimately led to Carly’s death, were not a crime under state law meaning police could not intervene before he harmed Carly. In 2017 the Federal Government introduced 'Carly's Law' and the South Australian Government also introduced a stricter version of the law last year, making it an offence for an adult to lie about their age to a child online and then attempt to meet that child.