Page 1504 - Week 05 - Thursday, 7 April 2005

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of any future offences that they may commit. I will briefly highlight for members a few aspects of the bill.

The bill provides for the establishment of a register of child sex offenders and will require offenders who commit sexual offences to report specified personal details for inclusion in the register. The bill further extends this requirement to certain offenders sentenced for registrable offences before commencement of the legislation.

The bill will require juvenile offenders and offenders who commit certain sexual offences against child victims to comply with the reporting obligations and to keep their details up to date, to report details annually and to report their travel plans. The bill imposes reporting obligations for a period of between four years and life, depending on the number, severity and timing of the offences committed and the age of the offender at the time an offence was committed. The bill further provides for the recognition of the period of reporting obligations imposed under laws of other jurisdictions.

Under this bill the requirement to report to police will fall upon those child sex offenders found guilty of a definable registrable offence for which a custodial sentence was imposed or for which they were otherwise made subject to a supervisory order, such as parole. These reporting obligations will also apply to sex offenders who immediately before the commencement of the proposed legislation are in a correctional facility.

As an added community protection measure, the bill empowers the courts to impose a new form of sentencing order to be known as a sex offender registration order. This order, which is made concurrently with a sentencing order, may be made if the court is satisfied that the offender poses a risk to the sexual safety of one or more people or of the community. The bill has been developed in consultation with all other jurisdictions so that the ACT can participate in the national child protection offender registration scheme. Other states and the Northern Territory have introduced, or will shortly introduce, similar laws.

We, as legislators, have a responsibility to protect the children in our territory to the best of our ability. We need to maintain a vigilant eye on those who have already sexually offended against children. Those who have sexually offended against children must be monitored for as long as it is considered reasonably necessary to ensure that they do not reoffend, a situation that unfortunately very often arises with such offenders. This bill will reinforce, strengthen and improve the current position. It is a modest step in the right direction in the campaign against sexual predators of our children. I look forward to the commencement of the scheme and I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stefaniak) adjourned to the next sitting.

Crimes (Sentencing) Bill 2005

Mr Stanhope, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

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