Moving forward with Terms of Reference review
Wednesday, 18 August 2021
The community has responded to the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council’s call for preliminary submissions about the serious violent offences (SVO) scheme with diverse feedback.
With preliminary submissions now closed, the Council has completed the first stage of the Terms of Reference review on the SVO scheme in Part 9A of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992.
Council member, and Project Sponsor for the review, Dan Rogers, said with little legislative change to the scheme since its introduction 24 years ago, the response to the Council’s call for feedback generated a broad range of informed and considered comments and observations.
“We’ve identified key themes running across many of the submissions, from stakeholders supporting the scheme being retained and extended, to others raising concerns about its mandatory nature and impact on plea rates and court sentencing practices,” Mr Rogers said.
A number of people raised concerns about potential gaps in the offences subject to the scheme, while the impact of the scheme on parole, post-release supervision and the safe reintegration of offenders into the community was another common theme, as was its potential impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and those with mental health issues.
“As part of our initial consultations, we met with victims of crime support groups and invited their preliminary feedback,” Mr Rogers said.
“It’s important to the Council that any reforms to the scheme we might recommend consider the views of victims.
“We will be working closely with victim support organisations during the next stages of the review to ensure that those who wish to contribute have the opportunity to do so,” Mr Rogers said.
The Council will use the preliminary feedback to help identify matters to be explored in more detail in an Issues Paper planned for release later this year at which point we will call for submissions.
Supporting the Issues Paper, the Council will release a series of background papers. The first background paper on the history of the SVO scheme is now available on the Council’s website.
“By providing more detailed information in background papers we’re supporting those wanting to make further submissions to the review,” Mr Rogers said.
The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, the Honourable Shannon Fentiman MP, issued the Terms of Reference to the Council in April 2021.
The Council must deliver its Final Report to the Attorney-General with its findings by 11 April 2022.
The 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.
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