The Victorian Government will introduce a bill to bring about sweeping changes to sexual offences laws to better protect victims against abuse. More than 50 sexual offence laws will be changed to ensure all forms of abuse are adequately covered.
Victoria’s Attorney-General Martin Pakula said, under the changes, offenders could be charged for abuse involving mobile phones and other technology even if children are not present.
“[The current laws] don’t properly capture new technology, they don’t properly capture new types of offending,” he said.
“This is a comprehensive overhaul which has been developed in consultation with the courts, the Office of Public Prosecutions, the police, the bar, and many other stakeholders.”
The proposed changes would introduce new offences for distributing and accessing child abuse material, which will carry maximum penalties of ten years’ imprisonment.
References to “child pornography” will be replaced with “child abuse material”, which also covers physical abuse and torture.
The bill will be introduced to the Victorian Parliament on Tuesday.
Mr Pakula said he was hopeful it would pass both houses quickly.