In recent years the maximum penalty in Victoria for sexual penetration of a child under the age of 10 years has been increased from 20 to 25 years. This change has brought the offence in line with the statutory offence of rape.
Extraordinarily, though,, once a child is age between 10 to 16 years, the maximum penalty for the same behaviour plummets to 10 years. These maximum penalties send a clear legislative message that sexual penetration of a child aged between 10 and 16 is significantly less heinous than that committed against a child under 10 years or over 16 years when the offence is considered that of rape
With maximum penalties handed down in a very small number of cases, sentences for arguably one of the most heinous offences, sexual penetration of a child between the ages of 10 and 16 continue to be drastically too lenient. Protection for society’s most vulnerable needs to take prevalence.