Jim McGinty

Jim McGinty

Attorney General; Minister for Health; Electoral Affairs

    New laws to keep dangerous rapists behind bars

    9/11/2005 12:00 AM

    The State Government will ask the Opposition parties to urgently pass tough new legislation to keep dangerous sex offenders behind bars indefinitely.

    Attorney General Jim McGinty said he hoped the Dangerous Sex Offenders Bill 2005, introduced into State Parliament today, could be passed by the end of the month and become law by Christmas.

    The new laws will enable the Attorney General or the Director of Public Prosecutions to seek a court order forcing serious sex offenders and paedophiles to remain in prison beyond their sentenced time.

    “If there is a risk that a convicted rapist poses a serious threat to the community once released from jail then that offender should not go free,” Mr McGinty said.

    “We need to protect the community from these dangerous sex monsters and the best way to do that is to keep them behind bars indefinitely.”

    Under the new laws, the court could issue an indefinite detention order after hearing evidence from psychiatrists and other experts that there was an unacceptable risk of a sexual offender re-offending.

    The Attorney General said the new laws would apply to any offender under sentence of imprisonment from the time the law came into effect, regardless of when their offence was committed.

    The Dangerous Sex Offenders Bill 2005 is based on Queensland legislation but Mr McGinty said the Western Australian laws went further because they could force sex offenders released into the community on parole back into prison.

    “This is an added safeguard to ensure no dangerous sex offender slips through the cracks,” he said.

    Sex offenders detained indefinitely would be subjected to a psychiatric review each year to determine whether they still posed a danger to the community.

    Mr McGinty said the proposed laws were a Gallop Government election promise and formed part of a comprehensive package to combat sex offenders and paedophiles.

    Last month, new laws were introduced into State Parliament to crack down on cyber predators who used the Internet to exploit and sexually abuse children.

    Under the Criminal Code Amendment (Cyber Predators) Bill 2005, paedophiles who expose children to indecent material or attempt to ‘groom’ children for sexual activity face prison terms of up to 10 years.

    Other reforms to crack down on paedophiles and sex offenders include:
    • increased penalties for loitering near schools, kindergartens and child care centres;
    • requiring convicted paedophiles and serious sex offenders to report to police and have their personal details logged on a national Sex Offender Register;
    • strict controls for paedophiles and serious and repeat sex offenders who pose a risk to the community or an individual, such as prohibiting these offenders from engaging in certain behaviour; associating with or contacting certain people;
    • engaging in certain employment and from being in certain places;
    • new procedures for checking the criminal records of people who carry out child-related work or who propose to carry out such work, and to prohibit certain people who have been convicted of or charged with certain offences from carrying out child related work;
    • increased jail terms for people who organise sex tours and introduction of lifetime bans on any travel agents who become involved in such offences; and
    • the visual recording of a child's initial interview with police can be the primary source of evidence in sexual abuse matters. This spares child victims of sexual abuse the trauma of retelling the graphic details of their ordeal in court.
    Mr McGinty said the State Government was also looking to establish a new specialised facility for prisoners diagnosed with Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder.

    “We need to improve mental health services significantly for prisoners, which will in turn help improve public safety,” he said.

    Attorney General's office - 9220 5000