Australia: Andrews Government to remove church confessional exemption on reporting child sexual abuse - PressFrom - Australia
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AustraliaAndrews Government to remove church confessional exemption on reporting child sexual abuse

05:55  06 march  2019
05:55  06 march  2019 Source:   9news.com.au

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The reporters are going quite hard on Hart’s refusal to support breaking the confessional seal to report abusers . The commission recommended it be made a criminal offence not to report a confession of child abuse , even if made under the seal of the confession .

This exemption frees religious leaders from reporting abuse if they learn about it from perpetrators. The Truth and Transparency Foundation says in a news release that “clergy typically and intentionally avoid reporting abuse to law enforcement except in states where they are required to do so.”

Andrews Government to remove church confessional exemption on reporting child sexual abuse© 9news Victorian Attorney-General Jill Hennessy announced the government's plan this morning. The Victorian government says it will introduce legislation that will force anyone told of child sexual abuse in confessional to be subject to mandatory reporting laws.

Any adult who forms a reasonable belief that a sexual offence has been committed by an adult against a child under 16 is obliged to report that information to police, failing to do so is a criminal offence

However, religious confessions are currently exempt from the “failure to disclose” offence if information about the abuse is revealed under confession.

George Pell's conviction of child sex crimes sparks 'unprecedented' crisis for Vatican

George Pell's conviction of child sex crimes sparks 'unprecedented' crisis for Vatican George Pell's conviction of child sex abuse charges has created a "completely unprecedented" situation for Pope Francis and the Australian Catholic community, church observers say. Former priest and Catholic historian Paul Collins said he believed it was the most serious conviction recorded against a cardinal of Pell's standing in the modern history of the Catholic Church. "This is a man who has virtually dominated the Catholic Church [in Australia] for the last 20 years," he said. He said the conviction would have "enormous implications" for the Vatican and the papacy of Pope Francis.

" Reporting information relevant to child sexual abuse to the police is critical to ensuring the safety of children ." Australia's Parliament will decide whether to enact the changes contained in the report . Archbishop Hart's predecessor at the Diocese of Melbourne, Cardinal George Pell, is due to face trial

Hundreds of children have been injured and a few have died in preventable ways at the thousands of religious, unlicensed day cares around the country. If we send you a request to remove our content from your website, you must agree to do so immediately.

Victorian Attorney-General Jill Hennessy said the legislation will also look to “take away the legal defence of the confessional as a reason as to why people ought not to report child sexual abuse”.

“I’m hopeful that I will get that legislation into the parliament by the end of this year,” Ms Hennessy said.

Just a handful of Victorian child sexual abuse victims have reached compensation agreements under a national redress scheme, according to the Andrews Government.

Ms Hennessy has written to the federal government asking for more resources to quicken the administration of the scheme and to express her disappointment.

"Last year we had only one-third of our 66 applications the subject of offers being made to those victims and this year only two of 34 applications have been processed," she said.

“We know that institutions and governments and communities significantly failed victims of child sexual abuse.

“To change this we’ve got to make sure we are doing this properly.”

NSW priest charged with 1978 abuse of 13-year-old boy.
Police arrested the clergyman near Newcastle, north of Sydney, after receiving a complaint about the alleged abuse in 1978.

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