Little or No Jail For 11% of Rapists
More than one in ten men convicted of rape received a wholly suspended
sentence between 1999 and 2004, statistics reveal.
Released by the Sentencing Advisory Council yesterday, the statistics show
that 166 men were sentenced for rape during the period. Six per cent of the
total received wholly suspended sentences and 5 per cent received partly
The proportion of men sentenced to immediate imprisonment increased from
70 per cent to 79 per cent between 2000 and 2002 and has remained around this level since.
Sentencing Advisory Council chairman Professor Ari Frieberg said the
council had recommended abolishing suspended sentences as a sentencing
option "and these figures reveal why it is an issue".
Last year, about 10,000 people rallied at Parliament House to object to
"soft sentences" handed to sex offenders.
The rally was sparked by the wholly suspended jail sentence given to David Leslie Sims,
who was convicted of two counts of rape, indecent assault and aggravated burglary.
Professor Frieberg said the proportion of men sentenced to jail for rape,
and sentence lengths for rape, had increased in recent years.
He said that in mose cases men prosecuted for rape faced multiple charges,
and that the sentence imposed for rape had to be considered in the broader context.
The average effective imprisonment period for rape fell from seven years
(with an average non parole period of four years and 10 months) in 1999 to six years
and one month (with an avergae non parole period of four years) in 2001.
But Professor Frieberg said this figure increased to seven years eight months in 2003,
with an average non parole period of five years and five months.
Apart from one indefinite sentence, the longest total effective sentence was 22 years
and nine months.
All 166 people sentenced for rape between 1999 and 2004 were male. More than one in
five- 23 per cent- received sentences other than immediate imprisonment.
Other than those who received suspended sentences, 3 per cent were sentenced to youth
detention, 3 per cent received community based orders, 2 per cent received intensive
corrections orders and 1 per cent a hospital security order.
Professor Frieberg said those who had lighter sentences may have included young and
intellectually disabled offenders with no prior convictions accused of less grave
In 2003, the Victims of Crime Compensation Tribunal granted 102 compensation applications
by rape victims and, on average about $6000 was awarded to each victim.
The Age (15-3-2005)