qld child killer laws up for debate

Qld child killer laws up for debate


Laws carrying a life sentence for parents and carers who cause fatal injuries to their children as a result of continuous abuse are set to be introduced to Queensland.

Plans to bring the state into line with other jurisdictions by expanding the definition of murder were announced in November.

The proposed legislation to be introduced on Tuesday would also add an aggravating factor to the manslaughter of a child under 12, increasing the lengths of sentences, Attorney General Yvette D’Ath said on Monday.

If passed, the laws will apply to child and adult homicides resulting from long term physical and sexual abuse, particularly where victims are young, disabled or elderly.

It would mean judges can still pass down a sentence that considers individual circumstances while acknowledging community expectations that killers should spend more time behind bars.

The move follows a review of child homicide rulings in Queensland courts by the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council. The council found the prison sentences being handed to child killers are too low.

The state opposition says child manslaughter should carry a mandatory 15-year sentence.