Research helps shape SVO scheme review

Media release

Friday, 22 October 2021

Latest research undertaken by the University of Melbourne and published by the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council questions whether the serious violent offences (SVO) scheme is the most effective sentencing approach to achieve community safety.

Released today to support the Terms of Reference review into the effectiveness of the SVO scheme, the Literature Review provides insights into the effectiveness of mandatory non-parole period sentencing schemes, public perceptions of serious violent offences, and approaches to achieving community protection.

Under the current SVO scheme in Queensland, a person declared as being convicted of an SVO must serve 80 per cent of their sentence or 15 years, whichever is less, in prison before being eligible to apply for parole.

Council member, and Project Sponsor, Dan Rogers, said the Literature Review draws on over 10 years of available research to review the effectiveness of the SVO and similar schemes.

“The review outlines there is little evidence supporting the assumption that a threshold of 80 per cent of a sentence served in prison reduces an offender’s risk to the community,” Mr Rogers said.

“The research found that longer periods of supervision in the community and a wide range of interventions, programmes and measures could prove more effective at reducing the risk, dangerousness and harms caused by those individuals subject to orders like Queensland’s SVO scheme.”

The Literature Review was produced by the University of Melbourne for the Council’s Terms of Reference, and draws on, and evaluates, relevant research and evidence published since 2010.

Mr Rogers said the Council is finalising an Issues Paper, planned for release in early November 2021, which will incorporate the findings from the Literature Review and present new information on sentencing statistics for Schedule 1 offences.

Consultation following the release of the Issues Paper will provide the next opportunity for the community and organisations to contribute feedback to the Council by considering the issues outlined in the paper and responding to some or all the questions raised about the effectiveness of the scheme in Queensland.

Mr Rogers said it was incredibly important to receive submissions following the release of the Issues Paper so the Council can gain a better understanding of the application of the current scheme, key issues to consider, and stakeholder and community views on potential reform if necessary.

The Council will deliver a final report to 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, on 11 April 2022.

The Terms of Reference outlining what the Council has been asked to consider is available on the Council’s website, along with two background papers and an information sheet about the SVO scheme.

Media inquiries

Laura Mac Kenzie
Senior Engagement Officer
0437 967 376(07) 3738 9501