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Labor urged to back mandatory jail for child sex offenders


Labor's being asked to push politics aside when it comes to the Tasmanian government's minimum mandatory sentences for serious child sex offences.

The upper house is to decide the fate of the government's proposed laws this week.

The opposition party did not back the move in the lower house, arguing that it could deter victims from reporting in cases where they know their perpetrator.

Last month, Shadow Attorney General Lara Giddings said while the protection of Tasmanian children should always be paramount, expert evidence shows mandatory sentencing is not the answer.

"Evidence shows mandatory sentencing reduces the incentive to enter a plea of guilty, meaning more cases will go to full trial where victims will have to testify".

But Acting Attorney General Matthew Groom said there needs to be appropriate sentences for these types of series offences.

" We're talking about significant offences here. We're talking about offences like rape of a young person or maintaining a sexual relationship with aggravation," said Mr Groom.

Police Minister Rene Hidding told Tasmania Talks, any bid to block the protection of the community's most vulnerable would be out of step with community expectations.

"I think governments need to choose a side, you either choose the side of the law abiding Tasmanians or you choose the side of those being charged with offences.

"We went to the election, we got a mandate to implement minimums sentences for child sex charges," said Mr Hidding.

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