Sex offender home with victim thanks to legal loophole
A CONVICTED sex offender will return to his family home, the home of his victim, when released from prison this week, prompting a concerned family member to speak out.
The man was sentenced in Maroochydore District Court in October to 10 months jail, suspended after two months, for indecent treatment of his stepdaughter, 14, at the time.
With his release imminent, concerns have been raised about apparent "loopholes" in the legal system that enable convicted sex offenders to return to the family home upon release, and potentially again be under the same roof as their victims.
Sex offenders must report to police four times a year, under the Child Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2004, but class one or two sexual offenders can live with children upon release.
Providing authorities are told the names and ages of any children who generally stay in the house where the offender generally lives, or with whom the offender has regular unsupervised contact, an offender may live in the same house as children.
Prison rehabilitation programs for sex offenders are accessible only to those serving more than 12 months.
Further, parents in Queensland who fail to report sexual abuse against their own children cannot be punished by law.
Queensland Law Society Criminal Law committee member Kurt Fowler admitted while it was a balancing act policing sexual offenders, there was limited scope to prosecute parents who failed to report offences against their children.
"In essence, no (there's no law that can punish the parent for not reporting abuse of a child)," Mr Fowler said.
Bravehearts' criminologist Carol Ronken said her organisation, dedicated to protecting victims of child sexual abuse, considered protection and prevention of abuse paramount when it came to sexual offender legislation.
"We know that for many victims of child sexual assault the offender is someone they know, love and trust (85 per cent of cases)," Ms Ronken said.
Protecting Your Children
- To trust their feelings and to distinguish between 'yes' and 'no' feelings.
- To say 'no' to adults if they feel unsafe and unsure.
- That nothing is so yucky that they can't tell someone about it.
- That if they feel unsafe or unsure to run and tell someone they trust.