Australian Lawyers Alliance says sex crime name change in Tasmania misleads

Attorney-General Elise Archer on Tuesday tabled a bill in Parliament to rename a number of sex crimes in the Criminal Code.

The bill seeks to rename the crime 'maintaining a sexual relationship with a young person' to 'persistent sexual abuse of a child'.

Ms Archer said this would better reflect the predatory and exploitative nature of the offending.

Australian Lawyers Alliance state president Fabiano Cangelosi in a submission during consultation over the bill said the term 'child sexual abuse' did not adequately reflect the elements of the offence.

"Calling it 'child sexual abuse' sacrifices an accurate description of the substance of the act in favour of tone," he said.

"The ALA supports retention of the existing name so long as the elements of the offence remain unaltered.

"Whilst the ALA accepts the force of the argument that the word 'relationship' has a positive connotation, it remains unanswerable in the ALA's view that the elements of the offence involve proof of a 'relationship', and that the offence name in fact accurately describes the offending that is alleged or proven."

Tasmanian Bar president Sandra Taglieri said the terminology of the crime was inappropriate and should be changed to 'persistent unlawful sexual acts involving a child'.

Former TasCOSS chief executive Kym Goodes in a submission said the language of 'persistent sexual abuse or exploitation of a child' had been adopted in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.

"We recommend that the department conduct further research to find out whether guilty plea rates in these states have changed significantly since the change in language," she said.



Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published