Reform to Protect Young Tasmanians Mon 29 October 2012 Brian Wightman Attorney-General The Attorney-General, Brian Wightman, will move to strengthen child protection laws as soon as possible. Mr Wightman today welcomed the release of the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute's report - Sexual Offences Against Young People. "Young children have a right to strong protection from shocking and abusive crimes," Mr Wightman said. "As Attorney-General, my highest priority will be law reform to strengthen those protections. "The TLRI's report gives the Government a firm basis for law reform that's both sound and effective," he said. The TLRI has made 16 recommendations in its final report, following consultation with a wide range of stakeholders. "In principle, I accept the vast majority of the report's recommendations, and have asked the Department of Justice to begin preparing legislative amendments" Mr Wightman said. "I intend to take recommendations to Cabinet as soon as possible, and will announce the Government's response to each recommendation before Parliament rises for the year. "Any necessary amendments to the Criminal Code will be prepared for tabling in Parliament at the earliest opportunity," he said. The report was prepared after a request from the former Attorney-General, Lara Giddings, in response to the criminal prosecution of two adults who sold a 12-year-child into prostitution. Mr Wightman said it's currently too easy for perpetrators to avoid conviction, by arguing that they thought a person was 17 or older. "While I won't be foreshadowing specifics until the Department of Justice has done its work, I intend to restrict the availability of the mistake of age defence and ensure we have consistent onus of proof requirements for that defence across all child sex offences," he said.