QSAC to examine classification of child exploitation material

Published Thursday, 19 January, 2017 at 10:45 AM

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath is today announcing that she has asked the recently re-established Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council (QSAC) to review the classification of child exploitation material for sentencing purposes.

At the official launch of the QSAC today, Mrs D’Ath said the Council’s first terms of reference will be to review how child exploitation material is classified for sentencing purposes to help determine whether any improvements can be made.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to ensuring children involved in child exploitation material are identified and protected from future harm, and that these offenders are sentenced in a way that reflects the seriousness of the offending,” Mrs D’Ath said.

“Queensland’s criminal justice system currently uses the Oliver scale to classify the type of child exploitation material, which requires every image and video to be viewed and this can consume significant resources and time.

“The 2015 Queensland Organised Crime Commission of Inquiry raised a number of concerns regarding the classification of child exploitation material, including excessive time delays and the flow-on effect for victim identification and prosecutions, and the potential harmful impacts for criminal justice officers involved in viewing images.

“We want to identify the children exploited through these images and remove them from potential future harm as quickly as possible.”

QSAC chair James Morton said the Council’s role was to inform, engage and advise on sentencing matters.

“The Attorney-General has asked the council to review the use of the Oliver scale classification system and look at other classification options to support the sentencing process,” Mr Morton said.

“Other interstate jurisdictions also use this system and are awaiting the outcomes of this review.

“We will be doing this in close consultation with key stakeholders such as Queensland Police Service, other criminal justice sector agencies, the legal community and victim advocacy groups.”

Mrs D’Ath also said that today the Palaszczuk Government had remedied a wrong, by officially re-establishing the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council that the former LNP Government scrapped.

“It is regrettable that Queenslanders have not had this expertise available since it was scrapped in 2012,” Mrs D’Ath said.

“The Palaszczuk Government has delivered on its commitment to re-establish the QSAC to help build public confidence and understanding of the criminal justice system.

“I would also like to thank all members of the QSAC for dedicating their extensive experience and knowledge from various perspectives and elements of the justice system.”

The Council is due to report to the Attorney-General about the classification of child exploitation material for sentencing on 31 May 2017.

Consultation with key stakeholders has begun. Public consultation will take place during March via the council’s website www.sentencingcouncil.qld.gov.au


Media Contact: Pam Frost – 0437 696 809