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Megan’s Law in Australia

July 24th, 2009 No comments

John Lewthwaite is a man who had been charged and convicted for the murder of five-year-old Nicole Hann in 1974. Lewthwaite, who was nineteen at the time, had fantasised about abducting and raping Nicole’s then nine-year-old brother. Young Nicole awoke one afternoon as Lewthwaite broke into her home. He stabbed her seventeen times. Lewthwaite was released back into the community after serving twenty-five years of his prison sentence. The community he took residence in was fearful and outraged; their main concern was for the safety of their children.

Good morning/afternoon Miss Wiggins and girls. Ours is an increasingly dangerous society with increases in both the malevolency and the rate of crime. Part of the problem lies in abuse of our advancing technology and media inducing increase in tolerance of popular-cultural interests such as violent movies, music, video games influencing today’s youths to commit crimes we have never imagined. This generation is in need of limits and boundaries, legal guidelines that enable individuals to achieve social cohesion. We are a generation that lives in constant fear. The rate of child sex crimes is on the rise. Parents of young children now live in fear that their child may also fall a victim to sexual crime. In 1993 to 1994, there were 4392 children who were believed to have been involved in substantiated cases of child sex abuse whereby substantiated means there is reasonable cause to believe that the child has been or is being abused. One Australian study in 1988 estimated that twenty-eight percent of girls and nine percent of boys had been involved in some form of sexual abuse in Australia. Child abuse includes crimes such as child sexual assault, child sexual victimisation, child exploitation, child sexual misuse, child molestation, child sexual maltreatment and child rape. All of which are criminal offences listed under the Criminal Code of Queensland. These crimes pose serious threat to our society. Not only are children amongst the most vulnerable of groups in the community, they are also the next generation of adults. Statistics show that in most cases, convicted paedophiles were found likely to have been victims of sex crimes as children. Therefore more must be done now to break this vicious cycle of immorality.

This afternoon, in light of time constraints I will be focusing on one particular area of law related to child sex crimes that is in need of reform; the treatment of “rehabilitated” or “paroled” child sex criminals in relation to Megan’s law in the US and whether or not such legislation is appropriate for the Australian society. Read more…