Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision)

In May 2006, the then Attorney-General asked the Council for advice on the merits of introducing a continued detention scheme. Such a scheme would allow for the continued detention of offenders in Victoria who have reached the end of their custodial sentence but who are considered to pose a continued and serious danger to the community. At that time, similar schemes were in operation in Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales. In providing the advice the Council was asked to take into account:

  • current approaches to post-custodial detention in other jurisdictions
  • the issues raised when Queensland's Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003 was considered by the High Court in Fardon v Attorney-General for Queensland (2004) 210 ALR 50
  • how such a scheme could operate against the backdrop of the existing power of the courts to order an indefinite sentence under the Sentencing Act 1991.

Should the government decide to introduce some form of continued detention, the Council was also asked to provide advice on the structure of such a scheme, including:

  • the offences for which an order might be available
  • what process for making a continued detention order should be established
  • which body would be empowered to apply for such an order
  • what the criteria for making an order should be
  • what process for assessing an offender against these criteria should be established
  • what body should be empowered to make an order
  • what the duration of such orders should be
  • what processes for review should be put in place
  • what safeguards could be incorporated to ensure that such orders may only be imposed in appropriate circumstances.

As the scheme would have to operate alongside the Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act 2005, which provided for the post-sentence supervision of high-risk child sex offenders, the Council was asked to consider the introduction of such a scheme in the context of that Act.

The Council released a Community Issues Paper in September 2006, a Discussion and Options Paper and its Recidivism of Sex Offenders Research Paper in January 2007, and its High Risk Offenders: Post Sentence Supervision and Detention Final Report in July 2007.