Failure to report child sex abuse in Victoria punishable by three years’ jail

Share Button

Premier Denis Napthine says there will be ‘no more cover-ups, no more hiding, no more sweeping these things under the carpet’

theguardian.com

Tuesday 25 March 2014 09.16 GMT

Australian Associated Press

Victoria premier Denis Napthine

Victoria premier Denis Napthine said priests hearing of abuse at a confessional would have a moral responsibility to act. Photograph: Alan Porritt/AAP

Victorians who fail to report suspected child sexual abuse and workers who cover it up will face jail.

The premier, Denis Napthine, declared the era of cover-up and silence over. “Every adult in Victoria who is aware of child sexual abuse must report it to police,” he said.

“No more cover-ups, no more hiding, no more sweeping these things under the carpet, no more shifting alleged perpetrators from one part of an organisation to another.”

Under the new laws, adults who fail to report suspected child sexual abuse will face up to three years’ jail.

Workers in positions of care who fail to take action to protect children from sex abuse face up to five years’ jail.

The laws were created in response to a parliamentary inquiry last year that found senior church leaders trivialised child abuse and ensured perpetrators were not held accountable.

The committee’s Betrayal of Trust report found Victorian Catholic clergy and the Salvation Army were the main culprits in inflicting “unimaginable harm” on children and had a culture of denial and concealment.

Legislation for the new laws was introduced into parliament on Tuesday.

A third offence for those who groom children for sex, punishable by up to 10 years’ jail, has already passed parliament and will come into effect in coming weeks.

Under the new legislation, priests who learn from children in a confessional that they have been abused are not required to tell police.

But if they become aware of abuse outside the confessional, they must report it under the legislation.

Napthine said if a child told a priest of abuse during a confessional, the priest had a moral and ethical responsibility to talk to the child outside the confessional and report it.

“I don’t think any priest, any person could live with themselves if they didn’t do that,” he said.

4 Responses to Failure to report child sex abuse in Victoria punishable by three years’ jail

  1. Sylvia says:

    “Victorians who fail to report suspected child sexual abuse and workers who cover it up will face jail.

    “The premier, Denis Napthine, declared the era of cover-up and silence over. “Every adult in Victoria who is aware of child sexual abuse must report it to police,” he said.

    “’No more cover-ups, no more hiding, no more sweeping these things under the carpet, no more shifting alleged perpetrators from one part of an organisation to another.’”

    Good news! This is what must happen everywhere. And the duty to report must be to police. (The duty to report in most if not all Canadian provinces is to Children’s Aid Society or its equivalent. I sat let police report to CAS – but criminal activity or suspect criminal activity must first and foremost be reported to police.)

    And note that grooming legislation has already passed! Good news indeed. I am currently trying to find more information on that – specifically the wording of the bill itself.

  2. JG" says:

    The church, the Vatican could save a lot of energy, time, money to be “transferred” to victims, just by purchasing a good photocopier and printing copies of this legislation, on Vatican stationary, of course.
    No need to drag everyone through Chopin’s Op.34 three long waltzes when a quick “two-step” is needed…
    Anxious to read that Legislation, Sylvia. It sounds like a no bull approach.
    jg

  3. Pope's sex abuse commission commentry says:

    Yes, fantastic news in Australia.

    But wouldn’t retrospective legislation have been wonderful?

    The jails would no doubt be full of enablers.

    But yes, JG why duplicate work, the Vatican replicating the Victorian legislation would be fantastic, and would not take years to finalize as the Pope’s commission will no doubt take. I was just reading that the Victorian legislation was written in one weekend, such was the Premier’s desire to act, and when presented to Parliament had no dissent. I hope that the other Australian States now take up this ethos, and that jurisdictions world wide act similarly, and quickly.

    However is the Pope’s Commission genuine? No male victim on it as Sylvia has reiterated is more than enough to raise eye brows as to composition. Will it be willing to establish any binding procedures and rules of conduct in one decade, let alone one weekend. I don’t hold my breath.

  4. Pope's sex abuse commission commentry says:

    After Cardinal Pell’s Micky Mouse performance at the Australian Royal Commission on Monday, surely he should be appointed to the Pope’s Sex Abuse Commission as the representative of the enablers. After all he has been appointed to the number 3 role at the Vatican, and has well demonstrated that he is an enabler.

    With no male victim as a part of the Pope’s Commission, at least the world would know it has an enabler on board. With so many enablers around the world, this cohort of evil would want a place on the Pope’s Commission.

    The composition and hence the genuineness of the Commission is distorted by omission of a male victim. Perhaps a trip to a Disney shop and buy some nice head gear for all of the clergy on the Commission to wear would further show to the world that they do not mean business and that it is surely another sham?

    The Pope has recently been critical of the Mafia, however perhaps the world could be served with a Mafia enforcer or two on the Commission? We might see genuine results very quickly!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *