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Renaming abhorrent crimes

Elise Archer, Attorney-General

The Tasmanian majority Liberal Government is committed to protecting the rights of victims and survivors of crime.

Today I was pleased to see a Bill to modernise the language used by the Criminal Code Act 1924 in a number of sexual crimes, especially those involving young people, to better reflect the true nature of those crimes, pass its second reading in the Legislative Council.

For example, the language used in the crime of ‘maintaining a sexual relationship with a young person’ in no way reflects the gravity of that crime and is an additional cruelty for the victim.

Our reform will rename this crime ‘persistent sexual abuse of a child (or young person)’ to better reflect the predatory and exploitative nature of the offending, as well as other sexual crimes in the Criminal Code.

This Bill is the product of extensive consultation with the legal and survivor communities, and is another step towards exposing the realities of child sexual abuse.

Any changes to the Criminal Code Act 1924 must always be considered thoroughly and carefully with a full understanding of its effect on the criminal law in this State, and our reform has achieved this purpose.