A new type of law pertaining to sexual offences is being considered amid revelations less than five per cent of “grab and drags” result in conviction.
A new type of law pertaining to sexual offences is being considered amid revelations less than five per cent of “grab and drags” result in conviction.

Push for new ‘grab and drag’ sex offence laws

Pressure is ramping up to create new "grab and drag" laws amid statistics that show less than five per cent of people are convicted on similar offences.

The Victorian Law Reform Commission is currently considering the rules around sexual offences and whether a new type of law is needed for serious acts that do not fall under the current rules.

It comes after the alarming footage last year of Jackson Williams who dragged a woman into a Melbourne alleyway, pinned her to the ground and later walked away free.

He was sentenced to a community correction order for assault but was found not guilty of intent to commit a sexual offence.

The decision sparked a push for new "grab and drag laws" that would better cover the incident and other similar cases.

At the time, Derryn Hinch's Justice Party MP Stuart Grimley presented a petition to the state's Attorney-General, which now has more than 100,000 signatures condemning the act.

Figures collected by the VLRC show that since October 2015 there have been 217 charges for assault with the intent to commit a sexual offence but just 10 convictions.

Conviction rates are typically lower when charges are not progressed or the case is resolved before a trial

Mr Grimley said the statistics made a good case for a new law and urged Victorians to make a submission to the VLRC urgently.

Submissions for the process close April 2.

"Victoria needs a grab and drag offence to fill the gap between charges of common assault and sexual assault," he said.

These crimes are often a precursor to more serious offending and we need to ensure the offenders know this behaviour is denounced and will not be tolerated.

There are now over 100,000 signatures on an e-petition pushing for an appeal against Williams after being found not guilty for assault with the intent to commit a sexual offence."

Northern Victoria MP Tania Maxwell, also of the Justice Party, said no woman should feel unsafe walking to or from work.

"Victorians have spoken of their outrage at gendered crime and grab and drag offences must be taken seriously and offenders punished accordingly," she said.

"These offences can stay with victims forever.

"Low conviction rates are a huge contributor to victims not reporting or pursuing their offender and this needs to be changed."

shannon.deery@news.com.au

Originally published as Push for new 'grab and drag' laws


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