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Liberty Victoria opposes the enactment of the Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Amendment (Community Safety) Bill 2016 (Vic) (“the Bill”). The principal issue is whether the measures proposed to be introduced by the Bill are reasonably adapted for the purpose of making the Victorian community safer, and constitute a proportionate limitation on the rights of people made subject to Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009 (“the SSODSA”) orders.
We understand that the Bill represents, in part, a legislative response to the Harper Review into the Management of Serious Sex Offenders On Supervision Orders and to the murder of Ms Masa Vukotic. Liberty Victoria recognises that no legislative response could be sufficient to remedy the harm caused to Ms Vukotic and her family and friends.
The findings of the Harper Review have not been made public, and so Liberty Victoria is unable to know whether the reforms to the SSODSA contemplated by the Bill are based on its recommendations.
Liberty Victoria has serious concerns about the Bill. It should not be enacted. Some of the reforms, such as the mandatory minimum term of 12 months’ imprisonment for breaching restrictive conditions, are simply draconian.
The Government has not explained how these proposed reforms would better protect the community, or prevent incidents such as the murder of Ms Vukotic. There is a real danger that, in the understandable desire to respond to such shocking incidents, the legislature rushes to enact laws without proper consideration of the pitfalls.
The Government has not made the case as to how such reforms are proportionate limitations to the rights of persons made subject to SSODSA orders. Liberty Victoria is concerned that if enacted such reforms would be open to significant abuse