Despite the fact that the offence of sexual penetration of a child between the ages of 10 and 16 carries a maximum penalty of 10 years, sentences are consistently lenient offering very little restitution for victims.
Imprisonment accounted for only 41% of offenders found guilty of sexual penetration of a child between the ages of 10 and 16.
Wholly suspended sentences were handed down by the superior Victorian Courts in 23% of cases involving sexual penetration of a child.
The average length of imprisonment imposed on offenders committing the offence of sexual penetration of a child aged between 10 and 16 increased from 2 years in 2005–06 to 3 years and 2 months in 2009–10.
Alarmingly, offenders aged between 20 and 24 were by far the most prevalent of offenders, however only 14% of offenders in this age group were imprisoned. Conversely, prison sentences were most likely to be handed down to offenders over the age of 40.
Victims can rarely find comfort in the punitive nature of the Victorian superior courts. Sexual penetration of a child would commonly be regarded by many within society as one of the most serious offences, yet sentencing does not adequately reflect the nature of the offence nor the hurt and trauma suffered by the victims.
Victims of child sex abuse crimes in Victoria are entitled to make a Crimes Compensation application. For more information or assistance on a child sex abuse matter call Victims of Crime Counselling and Compensation Services on Freecall 1800 000 055 for further assistance.