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Outdated, offensive wording around child sex offences needs to change

The misleading and potentially offensive use of the word “relationship” in child sexual offences contained in Tasmania’s Criminal Code should be removed and updated.
Shadow Attorney-General Ella Haddad said the offence of “maintaining a sexual relationship with a young person” needed to be altered to “persistent sexual abuse of a child” to reflect the reality and gravity of such serious crimes.
Debating the Family Violence Reform Bill today, Ms Haddad said the change would also bring Tasmania into line with New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia where this wording is used in criminal law.
“It’s misleading and offensive to imply that a relationship exists between a child sex offender and a victim and the current wording of the crime implies there is consent,” Ms Haddad said.
“Changing the name of such heinous crimes would be a strong step forward for victims to more accurately describe such offences for what they are.
“Implying a relationship exists between offenders and victims sends the wrong message.
“During today’s debate, Attorney-General Elise Archer said she also was concerned with the use of the word ‘relationship’ for this crime and committed to consulting on my suggested changes in future law reform.
“I look forward to taking part in any collaborative effort that will bring positive change for victims.”
Ella Haddad MP
Shadow Attorney-General