Australia to Begin Jailing Pedophiles for Life
Lawmakers ramp up minimum sentencing for child abusers
The Australian Government is set to introduce new minimum sentencing for pedophiles and begin jailing child abusers for life.
Lawmakers in Australia are set to impose mandatory minimum sentences for child sexual abusers who commit crimes on the federal level.
The Coalition government has tabled the new legislation to parliament that would also limit courts granting bail to repeat offenders.
In 2019, 40 percent of people convicted of federal crimes related to child sexual abuse spent no time behind bars in 2019, according to Attorney-General Christian Porter.
He warned that pedophiles are too often being released into the community without any protections.
"Sexual crimes against children destroy lives," he said.
The proposed new laws are aimed at dealing with online or overseas predators, with new offenses being set up to target the owners of websites known to host child sex abuse content, according to The Daily Mail.
"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," the attorney general added.
"Despite the devastating and life-long impacts that their crimes have on their young victims and their families."
While the left-wing Australian Labor Party has expressed concerns about mandatory minimum sentencing, senators have indicated they won't oppose the bill.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese told parliament on Wednesday his party would help the government in "any way possible" to end child abuse.
It follows comments made by home affairs minister Peter Dutton after a police operation saved 14 children from abuse.
"The Australian Federal Police working with AUSTRAC and others is detecting more and more people who are depraved, who are online and who deserve to be caught and will be punished," Mr. Dutton told parliament.
It would also create offenses for when someone subjects a child to cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment, or which causes a child to die.
The proposal will not apply to people under 18.
The radical overhaul will also bring in a new offense for grooming of third parties with the intention of procuring children for sexual abuse - to target instances of offenders approaching parents and carers.
The minimum prison terms will be five to seven years for the most serious child sex offenses.
Reoffenders will also face minimum sentences from one to four years for all Commonwealth child sex offenses.
The Australian Federal Police received almost 18,000 reports of child exploitation involving Australian children or Australian child sex offenders in 2018, which was almost double the number from the previous year.
"Sentences need to reflect community expectations and act as a significant deterrent to others, which is why these sorts of despicable crimes must result in significant penalties, not simply a slap on the wrist which is often the case," Mr. Dutton said last year.