Criminal Code and Related Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 - Have your say

The Tasmanian Government is committed to ensuring that public consultation processes are open and transparent and we are seeking your input on proposed amendments to the Criminal Code Act 1924, the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1997, the Evidence (Children and Special Witnesses) Act 2001, the Police Offences Act 1935, and the Sentencing Act 1997.

The Government is committed to improving measures to protect Tasmania’s children and strengthen justice responses to child sexual abuse.

On 20 June 2018, the Tasmanian Government released its response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The Bill reflects the Government’s commitment to introduce legislative reforms to implement a number of the Royal Commission’s recommendations.

The Bill proposes amendments to the Criminal Code Act 1924 by:

  • introducing a new crime of failing to report a serious offence;
  • expanding the definition of ‘unlawful sexual act’ to include section 35(3) of the Police Offences Act 1935 in the crime of ‘Maintaining sexual relationship with a young person’ contrary to section 125A;
  • strengthening the operation of the ‘grooming offence’ in section 125D to include communications with third parties for the purpose of procuring a child for unlawful sexual activity; and
  • clarifying that the abolition of the presumption that a male person under the age of 7 years is unable to engage in sexual intercourse to have retrospective effect.

The Bill also proposes amendments the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1997 by:

  • including religious ministry and Members of Parliament as mandatory reporters;
  • providing that people in religious ministry must report child abuse even where the information received was communicated during a religious confession; and
  • allowing the identity of mandatory reporter to be revealed to law enforcement agencies.

The Bill proposes amendments to the Evidence (Children and Special Witnesses) Act 2001 by:

  • extending the availability of pre-recording of evidence to adults who were victims as children of a child sexual offence, and any person where the judge is satisfied it is in the interest of justice to do so on application by the prosecutor;
  • strengthening the use of audio visual recording of evidence in later civil and criminal proceedings; and
  • allowing possession of audio visual recordings for the following purposes:
    • in the case of a police officer or person authorised by the Commissioner of Police, for the purpose of training and evaluation of the police officer involved with the making of the recording; and
    • in the case of a prescribed law reform body, for a purpose connected with the review of the laws of evidence as approved by the Attorney-General; and on such conditions as considered appropriate.

The Bill proposes amendments to the Police Offences Act 1935 by removing the limitation period for laying a complaint for the offence of 'Assault with indecent intent’ contrary to section 35(3).

The Bill proposes amendments to the Sentencing Act 1997 by:

  • introducing a requirement that where an offender has been given a single sentence for multiple child sexual offences, the courts are to identify the sentence attributable to each child sexual offence as if separately convicted; and
  • requiring the courts when determining a sentence for a historical child sexual offence to not take into account the sentencing practices at the time of the offence.

These amendments arise from the recommendations contained in the Criminal Justice and Final Reports of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Download draft bill: Criminal Code and Related Legislation Amendment Bill 2018

Publishing submissions

Other than indicated below, submissions will be treated as public information and will be published on our website.

Submissions will be published once the Government’s consideration of submissions has concluded.

No personal information other than an individual’s name or the organisation making a submission will be published.

For further information, please read the Tasmanian Government Public Submissions Policy (external link).

Important information to note

  1. Your name (or the name of the organisation) will be published unless you request otherwise.
  2. In the absence of a clear indication that a submission is intended to be treated as confidential (or parts of the submission), the Department will treat the submission as public.
  3. If you would like your submission treated as confidential, whether in whole or in part, please indicate this in writing at the time of making your submission clearly identifying the parts of your submission you want to remain confidential and the reasons why. In this case, your submission will not be published to the extent of that request.
  4. Copyright in submissions remains with the author(s), not with the Tasmanian Government.
  5. The Department will not publish, in whole or in part, submissions containing defamatory or offensive material. If your submission includes information that could enable the identification of other individuals then either all or parts of the submission will not be published.

Accessibility of submissions

The Government recognises that not all individuals or groups are equally placed to access and understand information. We are therefore committed to ensuring Government information is accessible and easily understood by people with diverse communication needs.

Where possible, please consider typing your submission in plain English and providing it in a format such as Microsoft Word or equivalent.

The Government cannot however take responsibility for the accessibility of documents provided by third parties.

The Right to Information Act 2009 and confidentiality

Information provided to the Government may be provided to an applicant under the provisions of the Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI). If you have indicated that you wish all or part of your submission to be treated as confidential, your statement detailing the reasons may be taken into account in determining whether or not to release the information in the event of an RTI application for assessed disclosure. You may also be contacted to provide any further comment.