A government crackdown will see paedophiles convicted of committing historic child sex offences receive harsher sentences from today.
The change was announced after the newspaper revealed that a Dubbo paedophile escaped a custodial sentence despite being found guilty of 10 counts of child sex abuse against two victims from 1980-1987, as his conviction was based on the practices of the 1980s.
Attorney-General Mark Speakman told the Daily Telegraph that the reform would ensure paedophiles got the sentences they deserved. He said: “The community is rightly concerned about some sentences given for historical child sexual offences and this reform will help ensure paedophiles are appropriately held to account.”
The state are also introducing new offences, which will see institutions become liable for covering up information relating to child abuse or failing to step in to protect a child known to be at risk of abuse.
“The Child Abuse Royal Commission uncovered too many examples of institutions letting down children in their care and the public at large by failing to report a child abuser from their ranks,” he said. “From now on, penalties will apply if they don’t do the right thing.
“People involved in child-related work at sporting clubs, schools and other organisations also need to understand they can no longer turn a blind eye to a risk of abuse and now must act to protect children or risk a potential jail term.”
It comes after there was public outrage over the conviction handed to former Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson, who escaped jail earlier this month despite being found guilty of covering up child sex abuse by a paedophile priest in the 1970s.
The 67-year-old was found guilty of concealing the repeated sexual abuse of two altar boys by paedophile priest Jim Fletcher in May, and, in July, received a 12 month prison sentence, which was delayed pending an assessment for home detention.
However, during a hearing on August 14, the Bishop has now been granted permission to carry out his sentence at home, rather than spending time in prison, reports 7 News. The decision was handed down by magistrate Robert Stone in Newcastle Local Court.
He will be eligible for parole in six months and has been ordered to wear a tracking device when appropriate.