Victoria is set to introduce mandatory sentences for violent criminals.

In response to the alarming number of violent bashings occurring in Victoria, the state parliament, on advice of the Sentencing Advisory Council, has proposed a minimum 4 year imprisonment for adult offenders who leave their victims with permanent injuries. National health statistics indicate that hospitalisation of Australian youth due to assault related injuries continues to increase. The mandatory sentencing will aim to reduce this trend. No mandatory sentence is currently set to be imposed on juvenile offenders for the same offence.

Between 1996 and 2006 the hospitalisations of young victims of assault increased by 29%. Approximately two thirds of such hospitalisations came as a result of bodily force, often from incidences of unarmed fights.

This is likely to be a welcome move from the Victorian government in the eyes of victims of violent assaults. These penalties would see Victorian thugs facing the toughest penalties in Australia. Mandatory sentences may prove an effective method to deter adults from engaging in such behaviour.

For more information on assistance for victims of violent assaults call Victims of Crime Counselling and Compensation Services on freecall 1800 000 055.

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