New laws to better protect students from sexual predators

Published: 7 Feb 2018

School staff who are not a student’s direct classroom teacher could still face jail time if they have a sexual relationship with a student.

The NSW Government is introducing changes to the special care laws that make it an offence for teachers to have sex with a student aged 16 or 17.

By expanding the definition of “teacher”, the laws will better protect students who may be of the age of consent but are under the staff member’s care.

The special care law will apply to:

  • teachers at the school beyond the student’s direct classroom teacher
  • teachers who do not provide instruction to students such as the principal or deputy principal
  • people employed at the school who have care of or authority over students, which may include school counsellors, welfare officers or year advisors.

The crime carries maximum jail terms of between four and eight years.

Attorney General Mark Speakman said the changes to the Crimes Act 1900 assures parents that their children are protected from predatory behaviour at school.

“School students are entitled to a safe learning environment, free from sexual exploitation and manipulation by those in a position of authority and trust,” Mr Speakman said.

The NSW Government is also considering further strengthening child sexual abuse laws, including further protections for 16 and 17 year olds, following recommendations by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

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