TOUGHER PENALTIES TO PROTECT KIDS NOW IN FORCE

The Andrews Labor Government has taken urgent action to protect Victoria’s children, with tough new penalties to come into force from today.

People who harbour or conceal a child, or who induce a child to be absent from care without lawful authority, will now face increased fines of $3690 and six months jail, up from $2214 and three months jail.

This will better protect children and impressionable young people who are subject to child protection orders or in police custody, many of whom can’t live with their families because of abuse or neglect.

Under the Children, Youth and Families Amendment (Permanent Care and Other Matters) Act, these penalties were passed last year but were not proclaimed by the former Liberal Government. This meant that it could have been as long as March 2016 before these offences would have come into effect.

The legislation also includes new penalties for adults who leave children unattended, including in hot cars.

While no responsible parent would willingly put their children in danger, these tougher laws will provide a ‘wake-up call’ for everybody that even the briefest lapse in concentration can be fatal.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos

“The Andrews Labor Government has taken swift action to bring forward these laws to protect Victorian children.”

“There is no good reason for an adult to willingly harbour a child or conceal them from authorities, and the terrible truth is that adults who do this do not have the child’s best interests at heart.”

“Anyone who would exploit a child, or groom them in order to sexually exploit them, deserves to feel the full force of the law.”