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Issued: Wednesday, 26 August 2015
A new taskforce including six victims’ groups has been launched to examine improving child protection through anti-libidinal treatment or ‘chemical castration’ of child sex offenders.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice and Police Troy Grant and Attorney General Gabrielle Upton today announced the taskforce that will report to Government by the end of the year with recommendations. Its formation follows a NSW Government election commitment.
Mr Grant welcomed the taskforce members and said he has asked them to examine a range of potential improvements, including introducing a sentencing option for the courts to order an offender to undergo anti-libidinal treatment.
He said the taskforce has also been asked to review current anti-libidinal treatment practices within the NSW correctional system and consider whether they can be expanded and improved.
“Child sex offenders leave their victims with life-long trauma and I am determined that our whole justice system, from the courts through to corrections, protects children as a priority,’’ Mr Grant said.
“Anti-libidinal medication alone is not a cure-all, but I want to make sure we make the very best possible use of it, combined with other strong measures, to prevent reoffending.
“If we make can make improvements that save just one child from this horrendous crime, it will be worth it.’’
Ms Upton said the taskforce is the latest step the NSW Government has taken to better protect and deliver justice for our children and young people.
“The victims of child sexual assault deserve our protection and support.
“The NSW Government has wasted no time in delivering tough new laws which mean child sex offenders now face life behind bars, included more child sex offences in the Standard Non-Parole Period Scheme and appointed to hear child sexual assault matters,” Ms Upton said.
The taskforce includes representatives from Corrective Services NSW, the Department of Premier and Cabinet, the Justice Health & Forensic Mental Health Network, NSW Health, the NSW Police Force, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Public Defenders Office, the NSW Bar Association and the Law Society of NSW.
Victims’ representatives include the Victims of Crime Assistance League (VOCAL), Bravehearts, the Homicide Victims’ Support Group, Enough is Enough, Adults Surviving Child Abuse and the Survivors and Mates Support Network.
VOCAL vice president Howard Brown said it is important the taskforce includes a strong representation from victims’ representatives and that it looks to latest and best practice world-wide in anti-libidinal treatment.
“There are a lot of advances overseas in this field of treatment and this is an opportunity to look at new types of treatment and the sort of treatment regimes that get the best results,” Mr Brown said.
“This is an important opportunity to work on the job of lowering reoffending in NSW.’’
Other measures to better protect or deliver justice for children and young people include a Child Sexual Assault Taskforce to advise on the best way to pilot the use of Children’s Champions who will support child witnesses through the court process, and the pre-recording of children’s evidence.