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.)

Research project into wellbeing of young people with vision impairment

Researcher with Monash University would like to work with young people aged 12-25 years old with a vision impairment to learn more about how they feel their vision impairment affects their life and wellbeing, and what strategies they use to manage it. Original article

22 Oct 2014

State and territory finalists announced for Young Australian of the Year 2015

The overall winner will be chosen from these state and territory finalists and will be announced on the eve of Australia Day in January. Check out some amazing young people from across Australia on the Australian of the Year Awards website. Original story

22 Oct 2014

CanTeen launch a new website

The Australian youth cancer charity has set up an Online Support Platform, a tool that will help the 23,000 young Australians diagnosed with cancer each year. Original story

22 Oct 2014

What the Millenials are really thinking

The Millennials, or Generation Y youth, are a generation of socially responsible young people who have the power to change the way society operates and believe in corporate social responsibility (CSR). Original story

22 Oct 2014

How can we best help young jobseekers

An article from the UK Guardian looks at the attitude of politicians towards young jobseekers, and concludes that the political classes need to show more empathy. Original story

22 Oct 2014

  More news >