Sentencing for child homicide

We are reviewing sentencing for child homicide as outlined in a Terms of Reference from the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath.

Our 12-month review focuses on sentencing for offences involving the unlawful death of a child and will:

  • consider and analyse penalties imposed on sentence for offences arising from the death of a child and report on current sentencing practices
  • determine whether the penalties currently imposed for these offences adequately reflect the particular vulnerabilities of these victims
  • identify any trends or anomalies that occur in such sentencing, for example, the nature of the criminal culpability which forms the basis of a manslaughter charge which may affect any sentence imposed
  • assess whether existing sentencing considerations are adequate for the purposes of sentencing these offenders and identify if specific additional legislative guidance is required
  • examine the approach in other Australian jurisdictions
  • identify and report on any legislative or other changes required to ensure the imposition of an appropriate sentence for these offences
  • identify ways to enhance community knowledge and understanding of the penalties imposed for these offences
  • consult with the community and other key stakeholders, and
  • advise on any other matters relevant to this reference.

In 2015–16, the deaths of 390 children and young people were registered in Queensland. Nine of these children and young people died as a result of suspected or confirmed assault and/or negligence. Six of these children were alleged to have been killed by a family member and two were alleged to have been killed by a non-family member (in one case the relationship had not yet been determined).

As part of the review, we will consult with the public and other key stakeholders including the judiciary, legal profession, victim of crime groups, child protection advocacy groups and relevant government agencies.

Key dates

  • 24 December 2017: Preliminary submissions closed
  • First half 2018: Consultation paper and further call for submissions
  • 31 October 2018: Final report delivered to Attorney-General

If you would like to register your interest in being kept updated about the review, including future opportunities to contribute, email info@sentencingcouncil.qld.gov.au

The focus of this review and information on this website may be distressing to some people. If you need to talk to someone, support is available:

For information and assistance about child safety issues, please contact