The Council is researching possible changes in how sexual offences have been sentenced in Victoria in the last 10 years.
Reforms in recent years have been specifically directed at sentencing practices for sexual offences:
- On 20 March 2017, certain sexual offences were classified as Category 1 offences. For Category 1 offences, courts must impose a term of imprisonment or other custodial sentence, except in a very narrow set of circumstances where special reasons exist.
- On 11 October 2017, the High Court held that Victorian courts had been giving too much weight to current sentencing practices, particularly when sentencing sexual offences against children. Since then, Victorian courts have been required to immediately, rather than incrementally, increase sentences where an uplift in sentencing practices is required.
- On 1 February 2018, certain sexual offences were classified as standard sentence offences. Victorian courts must take the standard sentence into account when sentencing such offences committed after this date.
To date, no published research has looked into whether these reforms have had an effect on how sexual offences are sentenced in Victoria.
To address this gap, the Council is researching:
- how many sexual offences were sentenced in Victoria between 2010 and 2019
- the demographic characteristics of people sentenced for sexual offences
- the sentences imposed on sex offenders
- whether any changes have occurred in the type of sentence, or the duration of imprisonment sentences, imposed for sexual offences.