People who abuse their children so badly that they die will face life in prison for murder under tough new laws being introduced in Queensland next year.
Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath announced on Wednesday that the Qld Government is redefining the crime of murder to include reckless indifference for human life, such as callous disregard for a child causing death.
It comes after the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council handed down its findings into the sentences being given to child killers.
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Ms D’Ath revealed the Qld Government will also endorse the report’s recommendation of introducing an aggravating factor to manslaughter of a child under 12, which will increase the lengths of sentences.
“When a child’s life is cut short, particularly under violent circumstances, the person found guilty should suffer the consequences,” Ms D’Ath said.
“That is why the Government will implement a two-pronged approach.”
The introduction of the new laws would bring Queensland into line with other Australian states, including NSW.
“This will hold perpetrators to account and deliver justice for victims and their families,” Ms D’Ath said.
“For example, a person who sexually abuses a child so badly that the child dies can now be charged with murder, not manslaughter.
“The changes will also capture those who abuse and neglect the elderly and people with disabilities so badly that they die.”
Mrs D’Ath said the Palaszczuk Government asked QSAC to conduct the inquiry because it wants to see stronger sentences imposed when people take the lives of children.
“Every child has the right to safety and a home free from violence. And every adult needs to remember that being a parent and carer is not a right, it’s a responsibility. We need to protect our most vulnerable,” she said.
“We are sick of seeing terrible cases where the punishment simply does not match the crime.”