The Victorian Coalition Government will change serious sex offender suppression order laws to further protect children and the community.
Under landmark changes, judges will be required to take into account the protection of children, families and the community when deciding whether to suppress an offender’s name and whereabouts.
The Act already requires judges to take into account the interests of victims, whose identities are protected to guard their privacy.
Minister for Corrections Andrew McIntosh today announced the Coalition Government has approved the move to strengthen the legislation in favour of protection.
“This is a vital change to the law which means judges must take into account what’s best for children, families and the community,” Mr McIntosh said.
“The Coalition Government believes this is exactly the kind of emphasis the community expects when making decisions about this type of offender. In future, judges may more frequently determine that it is not in the interests of community and child safety to suppress the names and locations of convicted offenders.”
Other changes to the law will require judges to consider whether the offender has a history of complying with the court’s orders, and the whereabouts of the offender, before agreeing to a suppression order.
“Many of these offenders don’t have a great history of complying with court orders. For the first time, the legislation will make this a factor in the court’s decision,” Mr McIntosh said.
However, in cases where expert medical evidence before a court says a suppression order is in the best interests of community safety, judges will still have the discretion to make such orders.
Legislative amendments to give effect to this decision are being prepared for introduction as a matter of priority.