The Victorian Coalition Government will provide $8.8 million over four years to strengthen the oversight, monitoring and management of registered sex offenders living in the community, Deputy Premier and Minister for Police Peter Ryan announced today.
Mr Ryan said the funding, announced as part of the 2012-13 State Budget, would boost Victoria Police’s capacity to manage and oversee offenders listed on the Sex Offenders Register.
“This Budget is about enhancing front line services and taking new measures to protect the most vulnerable Victorians,” Mr Ryan said.
“The rights of Victorian children are paramount and the Coalition Government is taking a responsible and necessary approach to ensure Victoria Police has the resources and the capacity to protect Victorian children and the wider community from those at risk of re-offending.
“Victoria Police will now be able to apply even greater scrutiny to those who have been deemed to be a risk to the community.”
Mr Ryan said the funding was part of the Victorian Coalition Government’s response to a February 2011 Ombudsman’s report into the management of registered sex offenders.
“The Coalition Government acted swiftly to establish a high-level Ministerial Taskforce which has overseen the substantive completion of work on all of the Ombudsman's recommendations,” Mr Ryan said.
“The former Labor Government failed to provide enough funding to manage registered sex offenders for four successive years, a fact noted by the Ombudsman.
“The Sex Offenders Register plays a critical role in preventing convicted sex offenders in the community from re-offending and helps prevent them from working or volunteering with children.
“All registered sex offenders must report to Victoria Police at least once a year and provide a range of information about their movements and personal situation.
“This $8.8 million investment by the Coalition Government will help protect Victorian children and the community from sexual predators.”
Mr Ryan said Victoria Police had undertaken extensive work to investigate sex offences across the board.
“The Coalition Government and Victoria Police recently announced a new specialist taskforce called Taskforce Astraea to crack down on child exploitation and the increasing incidence of sexual approaches being made to children online,” Mr Ryan said.
“There are now 27 specialist Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Teams (SOCITs) across the state to target and prosecute sex offenders in the community.
“The Coalition Government is boosting the capacity of Victoria Police to manage intelligence on sex offenders and child abuse offences,” Mr Ryan said.