Tasmanian law reform on sexual offences against young people

Tasmania’s law reform body has released its recommendations into the state’s child sex laws in a report, Sexual offences against young people.

The report by the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute (TLRI) originated in a request from the Attorney-General to review the crime of sexual intercourse with a young person and the availability of the defence of mistake as to age. Professor Kate Warner, Director of TLRI, said the report notes that care must be taken to ensure legislative responses appropriately target offenders, and do not criminalise consensual similar age sex.

The report recommends that the legal defence about mistaking age should remain, if a defendant can demonstrate that the mistake was honest and reasonable, and all reasonable steps were taken to determine age. ‘Rather than just taking the young person's word for it, you'd want to ask for proof of age in some way,’ Professor Warner said.

Liz Little from the Sexual Assault Support Service has described the report as a missed opportunity that does nothing to address the situation that led to it, where a 12-year-old girl was prostituted by her mother.

The Tasmanian Attorney-General, Brian Wightman, says he will take plans for a no defence age to Cabinet, even though the institute's report did not recommend that course of action. ‘I've been very clear on the record that I do believe Tasmania should have a no defence age,’ he said. ‘We're the only jurisdiction without one and I've read the report and I haven't been persuaded against my original view which is that we should have a no defence age in Tasmania.’

The report is available for download from the TLRI website: http://www.utas.edu.au/law-reform/

(Source: University of Tasmania website, 30 October 2012, ABC News, 29 October 2012.)

Happiness is a bicycle

The Happiness Cycle program, being rolled out in Tasmania, is all about helping local 15- and 16-year-olds to live a sustained more healthy and active lifestyle by getting them on brand new bikes that they build themselves! Original story

27 Nov 2014

VCOSS strategies for youth unemployment

The Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) has produced a new paper entitled 'Tackling unemployment: Towards a workforce participation plan for all Victorians', in which it outlines four strategies to help tackle unemployment for the most vulnerable, including youth, in Victoria. Original article

27 Nov 2014

Call for housing fund for young Victorians

An alliance of peak bodies and community organisations is calling on the next Victorian government to provide a guaranteed rent subsidy and appropriate supports for all young people leaving state care. Original article

27 Nov 2014

Game On: Know Alcohol

A Griffith University research project designed to educate young people about alcohol has found that the majority (66%) of 14-16 year olds do not drink alcohol. Original article 

25 Nov 2014

White Ribbon Day – stand up against violence against women

Today is White Ribbon Day. More than 1,000 events are being held across Australia today to to publicise the need to stop violence against women. The White Ribbon website contains many resources to help stop this violence. Original article

25 Nov 2014

  More news >