Serious sex offenders who breach supervision orders will be jailed for at least a year, under new changes proposed by the Victorian Government.
The legislation to be introduced to State Parliament will also extend the time police can hold sex offenders from 10 hours to 72 hours, if they believe there is an imminent risk of reoffending.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the changes were part of sweeping reforms to the way sex offenders were managed, in response to the death of Melbourne schoolgirl Masa Vukotic, who was murdered in a random attack by Sean Price last year.
Price was a convicted rapist with a history of violence, but he was living in the community on a supervision order when he murdered the 17-year-old.
“The safety of Victorians has to be the number one priority, the central priority in our criminal justice system,” Mr Andrews said.
“As we all know, our system tragically failed Masa Vukotic and her family.
“When I spoke to Masa’s mother after her tragic death at the hands of Sean Price just a little over a year ago, I told her we would honour her memory and we would fix this system, we would make sure that her daughter did not die in vain.”
Price was handed a minimum 38-year jail sentence for the crime last week.
The changes will also give police more powers of search and seizure when supervising sex offenders, while violent offending will also count as a breach of a supervision order.
“A sex offender on one of these orders could act violently under the law as it is today, and that would not constitute a breach,” Mr Andrews said.
“Under these changes that will be a breach. Be in no question about that, that will be a breach of the order and there will be a new mandatory minimum 12 months’ imprisonment for such a reckless and wilful breach.”
Dozens of sex offenders living in Victoria
The government said at the time of Ms Vukotic’s death there were 54 sex offenders living in the community.
Since then, the number had been reduced to 41.
Acting Victorian Police and Corrections Minister Robin Scott said there were 17 people who were not on the sex offenders register, even though they were under serious sexual offender supervision orders.
“There was an anomaly where they were not on the sexual offenders register. That is being cleaned up by this legislation,” he said.
Mr Scott said extending the preventative detention period was not a punitive measure.
“If police believe there’s an imminent threat that an individual on a supervision order would breach that order, that means there is a 72-hour preventative detention period which can be utilised to protect the community,” he said.