26 September 2023

Comments invited on new criminal laws

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Canberrans are being called to have their say on three criminal offences to better protect vulnerable people from abuse and neglect.

Issuing the call, Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said three new criminal offences were introduced in April 2021 to provide additional protections for vulnerable adults with a disability and older, vulnerable members of the community.

“These offences make it a crime to abuse, neglect, or fail to protect a vulnerable person,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Someone found guilty of these offences could be imprisoned for between three to five years,” he said.

“The laws apply to institutions and individuals who provide care to vulnerable adults, including family members and a person in authority.”

Mr Rattenbury said the Justice and Community Safety Directorate was consulting with the Canberra community and key stakeholders until 24 May to see if the offences were effective and if they could be improved.

He said the statutory review of the offences would focus on three questions: How has the definition of ‘vulnerable person’ supported or limited the effectiveness of the three new offences?; How have the types of caring relationships captured in the offences?; and If the offences applied to children with disability, would they offer more protection compared to existing protections for children? Why or why not?

“By assessing the effectiveness of offences, we make sure that people who do the wrong thing can be and are being held accountable,” the Attorney-General said.

Further information on the review of the criminal offences can be accessed at this PS News link.

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