Sexual violence sentences analysed

Almost all adults sentenced for rape over the past 18 years received a custodial sentence, Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council (QSAC) data shows.

QSAC’s Sentencing Spotlight on Rape report, released last week, showed 98.7 per cent of adults sentenced for rape between July 2005 and June 2023 received a prison term, with the average term 6.5 years.

The council’s Sentencing Spotlight on Sexual Assault report, also released last week, showed almost two thirds of adults (64.6 per cent) sentenced for sexual assault in that period received a custodial sentence, with the average term 1.3 years.

QSAC Chair Ann Lyons, a former Supreme Court judge, said it was important to remember that while rape and sexual assault accounted for a very small proportion of all cases sentenced in Queensland (less than 0.1 per cent), the number of offences committed was likely to be much higher.

“We know that rape and sexual assault are significantly underreported crimes,” Ann said.

“There are many barriers to victim survivors reporting these types of offences, and even fewer end up in court and result in the person charged being convicted and sentenced.


“So it’s important to remember that this data reflects the number of cases being sentenced, not the rate of offending.”

Ann said the council was working on a review of sentencing for sexual violence, at the request of the Attorney-General.

“As part of this review, we have been asked to look at current sentencing practices, the use of different penalty options and existing forms of sentencing guidance, as well as the approach in other jurisdictions,” she said.

“We will consider whether current sentencing laws are working as intended or if any reforms are needed.”

Read the two Sentencing Spotlight reports here.

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