Convicted paedophiles in Australia could be left unable to travel overseas following a federal government announcement to crack down on child sex tourism.
Last month, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop revealed that new legislation would be introduced to prevent approximately 20,000 individuals on the country’s child sex offender register from leaving Australia or holding passports.
Australia would become the first nation in the world to introduce such a law, with Ms Bishop stating there is “justified” concern that the sexual exploitation of vulnerable children continues to be a problem both here and abroad. The legislation could also make it more difficult for paedophiles to flee the country if they were to reoffend.
“With almost 800 registered child sex offenders travelling overseas in 2016, and more than one-third doing so without permission, it was clear the existing passport legislation was not working,” she explained.
“The new legislation will impose higher standards than existing rules, putting a stop to child sex offenders travelling to vulnerable countries where they are out of sight and reach of Australian law.”
Child abuse in Australia
Derryn Hinch, an independent senator who suffered abuse as a child, claimed he was unaware that paedophiles were allowed to travel abroad until Australian actress Rachel Griffiths contacted him last year.
According to the Associated Press (AP), she told him that while people who have gone bankrupt aren’t allowed to travel overseas without a trustee’s permission, child molesters have no such restrictions.
Mr Hinch, who helped write the new legislation, said temporary passports would allow child sex offenders to travel for genuine business or family purposes.
“This will not apply to a teenager who has been caught sexting to his 15-year-old girlfriend. I know sometimes, I think unfairly, they go on registers, but we’re trying to work it out so they don’t,” he added.
Institutional child abuse in Australia
The news comes after the country was rocked revelations of historic crimes committed within the church, as government figures showed the problem was far more widespread than suspected.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse stated that 7 per cent of all Catholic priests working in Australia between 1950 and 2009 were accused of child abuse.
Victims of institutional child abuse in Australia can seek compensation for the pain and suffering they have experienced. Many alleged perpetrators are also likely to be investigated following the royal commissions findings.
Would you like to learn more about the compensation that is available to survivors of child sex abuse? Please get in touch with Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers.