FIGHT: Annie Jones and Tracey Morris want the law changed. Photo: Patrick Woods
FIGHT: Annie Jones and Tracey Morris want the law changed. Photo: Patrick Woods

‘It’s ludicrous’: Abuse survivor lashes out at law

ANNIE Jones won't give up until no other child is haunted by the same secret that plagued her life.

The Buderim teen once feared she'd never escape the man inside her home.

Annie first told the Daily in August about the sexual abuse she endured for years at the hands of her stepfather.

It began at just 13.

Despite her abuser being behind bars, Annie believes the justice system is failing those who need protection above all.

Together with her mum Tracey Morris, Annie has called for an overhaul of Queensland law regarding child sex offenders.

The pair believe the current legislation doesn't "reflect the dignity and fundamental rights" of victims.

"It is ludicrous that every state and territory in our country have different laws for child sex offences," Tracey said.

"Children are the most vulnerable people in our society and someone needs to take action on their behalf."

Specifically, the duo are calling on the Queensland government to mimic New South Wales law by introducing standard non-parole periods for child sex offences.

This is a reference point for a sentencing judge to decide how long a person must spend behind bars before being eligible to apply for parole.

Tracey said the lives of children should be valued equally across all of Australia.

"(The law) may help victims to get through the court process knowing that in the end, the perpetrator is looking at a set number of years," she said.

Tracey also said the sentencing laws for these particular crimes no longer met the expectations of the community.

"Child sex offences should carry the heaviest sentences of all crimes, along with murder, and they don't," she said.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D'Ath said despite there being no non-parole guidelines in Queensland for these crimes, the state still had "some of the toughest laws in the country for child sex offences".

"Any person convicted of a sex offence, whether it is against an adult or child, if the court sentences them to imprisonment and places them on parole, the court can only give them a date at which they are eligible to apply for parole - they must stay in custody until the Parole Board grants parole, if parole is granted at all," she said.

"This means a court cannot grant parole to an offender convicted of a sex offence."

Ms D'Ath said the standard non-parole periods in NSW were not a binding sentence.

"If a judge wants to impose a sentence less than the SNPP they just have to give reasons," she said.

A petition is live on the website Annie and Tracey established in September to support child sex abuse victims, No More Fake Smiles.

More than 480 people have come forward to the duo with their own stories of survival since its inception.

This is why Annie is determined to make a difference.

"This is something that has needed to be changed and addressed for a very long time," Annie said.

"The inequality of justice between states is so extravagant and unfair that it leaves some victims not even willing to try and put their perpetrator behind bars."