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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Another Example Why Different Words Are Needed


australasianlawyer.com.au reports in a piece titled "Court of Appeal urges judges give harsher incest sentences"...

The highest court in Victoria has urged judges to impose harsher punishment for incest cases but also did not overturn a debated incest sentence for a man proven guilty of incest against his two step-daughters.

The Court of Appeal wrote in a judgment that judges were doling out “disproportionately low” sentences for incest, according to The Age.
In the controversial case brought to the appellate, the man was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison, even though he impregnated the 13-year-old step-daughter he abused. Incest has a maximum penalty of 25 years.
So what we had here was a rape case. That should bring a lot more than five and a half years, and how much does it matter that he was married to their parent?

Pleading guilty to incest and indecent assault, the man was given three-and-a-half years in prison for committing incest against his 13-year-old step-daughter.

Her sister, according to The Age, had a mild mental disability and was 15 or 16 when she was abused. The man got two years in prison for his crimes against the older teen.
Ridiculously short sentences.

The court said that if the sentence weren’t consistent with current practice, “we would have had no hesitation in concluding that the sentence imposed...was manifestly inadequate.”

This is why the court believes it falls on judges to collectively be handing out harsher sentences to those convicted of incest.
Sentencing for incest must reflect society's denunciation of the sexual abuse of children and the profound harm which it causes,” the court wrote. "The very high maximum penalty underlines the seriousness with which the offence is regarded."
In the strictest sense of the word, this wasn't even incest. However, it is important to note that "incest" doesn't have to mean child abuse. If someone assaults another adult who is a close relative, that is also incest. But... consensual (to be redundant) sex between close relatives is also "incest" and also still treated as a criminal matter in Australia even though it is an entirely different matter from assault and abuse.

The real problem with these criminal cases was that they involved child rape/molestation. It would be horrible what that abuser did even if he was never in a relationship with the girls' parent. His sentence should have been much longer.

When it comes to consanguinamory (consensual adult incest), there shouldn't be criminal cases in the first place. These two very different things need to be distinguished from each other in both the words we speak and the laws.
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