Victoria's worst sex offenders to be overseen by new authority

Sean Price stabbed Melbourne schoolgirl Masa Vukotic to death. Photo: Luis Enrique Ascui

Sean Price stabbed Melbourne schoolgirl Masa Vukotic to death. Photo: Luis Enrique Ascui

Victoria's worst sex offenders will be watched over by a new authority charged with ensuring they are never able to offend again, even after having served their time in jail.

The task of managing the state's most dangerous sex offenders will be removed from the Adult Parole Board, which was found in a 2013 review to be under-resourced, and given to a panel of up to 10 experts, including former judges, magistrates and community members.

The new authority will be solely responsible for overseeing the detention or supervision of former prisoners who are judged to pose an unacceptable risk to the community.

These offenders will either be held after having served their jail sentence in a new high-security detention facility the Andrews government is building, or supervised under strict conditions including electronic monitoring, curfews, no-go zones and strict reporting requirements.

On Tuesday, the Andrews government will introduce into parliament a bill to establish the new Post Sentence Authority.  

Gayle Tierney, the Minister for Corrections, said setting up the authority was a recommendation of the Harper review, which the Andrews government set up after Doncaster teenager Masa Vukotic's daytime murder by Sean Price.

Price stabbed Masa Vukotic to death in a random attack in a public park in 2015.

He was free at the time even though he had previously been considered a candidate for a detention order.  

"This new authority will provide independent and rigorous oversight of the post-sentence detention and supervision scheme, and keep the community safe," Ms Tierney said.

There are currently 135 serious sex offenders in Victoria who have been deemed by the courts to be an unacceptable risk to society and who have a post-sentence supervision or detention order.

Just three of them are being held in detention and 132 are on supervision orders.

They are currently overseen by the Adult Parole Board.

Once the new authority is established, the parole board will be stripped of its oversight of these former prisoners and left to manage the approximately 850 people who are currently on parole in Victoria.

The new post-sentence authority is part of a $308 million law-and-order package in the 2017-18 state budget.

A speciality sex offender response unit of Victoria Police – including detectives, intelligence analysts and corrections staff – will also be expanded.

The government's stance on law and order has been attacked as too lenient by the Coalition, which has pledged to bring in mandatory sentencing for a range of violent offences and tougher crackdowns for bail breaches.

The Harper review, by former Supreme Court judge David Harper, made 35 recommendations and the Andrews government has committed to implement them all.

"Keeping the community safe is our priority – that's why we're implementing every recommendation of the Harper review, with all reforms to be delivered by next year," Ms Tierney said.

A recent poll by Fairfax Media in four marginal seats found there is significant concern about rising crime among Victorian voters.

Almost 70 per cent of some 3000 people polled said they believed crime is getting worse. 

This story Victoria's worst sex offenders to be overseen by new authority first appeared on The Ararat Advertiser.