Government acts against child grooming (11.12.2013)

Written on the 11 December 2013

The Victorian Coalition Government has today introduced legislation into Parliament to create a new criminal offence that will better protect children from sexual abuse.

 

The new offence targets behaviour known as ‘grooming,’ in which an offender seeks to cultivate a child or their family in order to facilitate sexual abuse of the child.

This important reform will introduce a broad prohibition of any grooming of either a child or their parents or carers, with a penalty of up to 10 years in jail.

Attorney General Robert Clark said the grooming laws will apply to any communication with a child, parent or carer intended to facilitate involving the child in a sexual offence.

It will apply to both grooming through personal contact and grooming using the internet or any other means.

The creation of this new offence is a key first plank in the Government’s response to the recommendations of the Parliamentary Family and Community Development Committee’s
Betrayal of Trust report on the handling of child sex abuse allegations.

“The Parliamentary Committee identified that sexual predators often seek not only to groom an intended victim, but also their parents, teachers and others having care of a child,”
Attorney-General, Robert Clark, said.

“The Committee highlighted the calculated and protracted use of grooming techniques by abusers to develop a relationship over time with an intended victim or their family.

“This law recognises the insidious methods that these sexual predators use in befriending and relationship building prior to perpetrating their abuse.”

Mr Clark said the new offence would not require that any sexual abuse have actually occurred or been attempted.

“This law will give the courts the power to protect Victorian families by imposing suitably strong sentences in response to this insidious behaviour,” Mr Clark said.

Mr Clark said evidence to the Committee from a number of victims showed the devastating impact this breach of trust can have on children, their families and carers.


Media Contact James Copsey 0419 984 371 james.copsey@minstaff.vic.gov.au


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