Council to review the serious violent offences scheme
The Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council has been asked by the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, the Honourable Shannon Fentiman, for its advice on the serious violent offences scheme.
The Terms of Reference ask the Council to consider a number of matters related to the serious violent offences (SVO) scheme in the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992, including how it is impacting Queensland’s sentencing practices.
Council Chair, John Robertson, said the SVO scheme requires a person declared as being convicted of certain listed offences to serve 80 per cent of their sentence or 15 years, whichever is less, in prison before being eligible to apply for parole.
“Violent offences, offences of a sexual nature, and serious drug offences sentenced in the District and Supreme courts are just a few of the categories of crime the serious violent offences scheme can be applied to,” Mr Robertson said.
The SVO scheme came into effect in 1997 and there has been little legislative change to the scheme since its introduction 24 years ago.
The scheme was introduced to respond to concern for community safety and community outrage with serious violent crime. It was described as being based on a reasonable community expectation that sentences reflect the seriousness of the violence and harm of the offending, and that just punishment would be given to those who genuinely deserve it.
Mr Robertson said the Council had identified a need for the scheme to be reviewed in its previous reports on sentencing for child homicide offences and its review of community-based sentencing orders, imprisonment and parole options.
The Council will soon call for preliminary feedback to assist in identifying key issues to be explored in responding to the reference, with feedback helping to inform the approach to the project and establish questions for further research and discussion.
The Council will deliver a final report to the Attorney-General on 11 April 2022.
The full Terms of Reference outlining the matters the Council has been asked to consider is available on the Council’s website along with an information sheet about the SVO scheme.