Sexual Offences against Young People
Following public outrage at the perceived leniency of the law involving sex offences against young persons, the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute has released its latest issues paper entitled ‘Sexual Offences Against Young People’. The issues paper is concerned with the defence of mistake as to age where a person has been charged with a sexual offence against a young person and was referred to the Institute by the Attorney-General following a case in which a twelve-year-old girl was prostituted by her mother. The issues paper considers a number of options for reform including the introduction of a ‘no defence’ age, meaning there can be no argument of consent or mistake as to age when the complainant is below the prescribed age (which could be 10, 11, 12 or 13 years old). Another suggestion is that before arguing the mistake as to age defence offenders would have to prove that they took all reasonable steps to ascertain the age of the young person. The issues paper is available on the TLRI website at www.law.utas.edu.au/reform.