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Published date: Wednesday 6 June 2018

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One of the state’s largest ever criminal justice reform packages will be introduced into NSW Parliament today heralding a milestone for survivors of child sex abuse and delivering tough laws to crack down on paedophiles.

Attorney General Mark Speakman said the Criminal Legislation Amendment (Child Sexual Abuse) Bill 2018 implements a suite of measures recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

“The courage survivors have shown and continue to show in telling their stories never fails to astonish me. They are changing the way our laws respond to child sex abuse. That means today, survivors are helping to make history,” Mr Speakman said.

“The reforms I will speak to today better reflect community expectations and will assist in ensuring that perpetrators are held to account for their appalling abuse of children.”

Some of the key changes the NSW Government has introduced include:

  • Legislating a maximum life sentence for a strengthened offence of persistent child sexual abuse;
  • Introducing new offences for failure to report and failure to protect against child abuse;
  • Requiring courts not to take into account an offender’s good character when sentencing for historical offences where their reputation facilitated the offending;
  • Requiring courts sentencing for historical child sexual assault offences to apply current sentencing standards and to reflect present understanding about the lifelong trauma sexual abuse can cause; and
  • Introducing a new offence of grooming an adult to access a child and strengthening the current grooming offence to include providing a child with gifts or money.

NSW has already led the way in responding to the Royal Commission, including being one of the first states to opt into the National Redress Scheme.

Available support:

Lifeline 13 11 14

1800Respect on 1800 737 732

Blue Knot Foundation on 1300 657 380

MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978


New legislation to strengthen child abuse laws - Summary

New legislation to strengthen child abuse laws - Detail

NSW Government to respond to final report:

NSW Government Taskforce to respond to Royal Commission’s final report