New Laws To Protect Victorians From Violent Offenders

The state’s most serious violent offenders will be subject to continued detention and supervision even after their prison sentence has expired under tough news laws to be introduced by the Andrews Labor Government today.

The Serious Offenders Bill is part of the Labor Government’s $390 million investment to overhaul the post-sentence scheme and will expand it to include serious violent offenders who pose an unacceptable risk of reoffending after the end of their sentence.

The scheme already applies to serious sex offenders, and allows courts to make orders for the continued detention of an offender, or to impose rigorous supervision requirements including electronic monitoring, curfews, exclusion zones or residence conditions.

Serious violent offenders captured under the new scheme include those convicted of murder, manslaughter, child homicide, causing serious injury intentionally in circumstances of gross violence, causing serious injury recklessly in circumstances of gross violence, causing serious injury (recklessly or intentionally), kidnapping and arson causing death.

Expanding the scheme was a key recommendation of the Harper Review – led by the Honourable David Harper, former Supreme Court Justice – commissioned after the tragic death of a 17-year-old girl at the hands of a serious sex offender who was on a supervision order.

The new laws will also:

  • Allow for the placement of post-sentence offenders at a new secure facility that is currently under construction in Ararat. Located next to Hopkins Correctional Centre, the facility will provide intensive treatment and interventions for up to 20 supervision order offenders and is due to open later this year.
  • Create a new emergency detention order power, allowing supervision order offenders to be detained in prison for up to seven days if they pose an imminent risk of committing a serious sex or violent offence where their behaviour or circumstances change suddenly, even if they haven’t breached a condition of their order.

Offenders subject to post-sentence orders will be overseen by the recently established Post-Sentence Authority chaired by former Chief Magistrate and State Coroner, His Honour Judge Ian Gray.

The Honourable David Harper has been appointed as the Authority’s Deputy Chair and, along with Judge Gray, will be supported by recently appointed members Jeremy Cass, Angela Moran, John Griffin PSM and Paula Davey. They join full-time member Carmel Arthur and community member Peter Martin OAM.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Corrections Gayle Tierney

“For the first time, serious violent offenders can be detained or supervised even after they’ve completed their prison sentence.”

“We promised we would do everything we could to fix the system and that’s exactly what we’re doing – expanding the post-sentence scheme will help keep Victoria safe.”

“With these reforms, Victoria is leading the country in managing our most dangerous criminals.”