Children to be better protected from abuse


Released 19/02/2019

The ACT Government has today released report outlining the most effective approach to introducing new laws regarding the reporting of child sexual abuse.

Late last year, the ACT Government commissioned The Hon. Justice Julie Dodds-Streeton to prepare a report on how to best implement Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommendations regarding the reporting of child sexual abuse that have implications for the confessional seal.

Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay said the ACT Government would be introducing a suite of criminal justice reforms on Thursday following release of this report.

“The Government acknowledges its responsibility to ensure that children are properly cared for, and to protect them from violence, abuse and neglect by institutions who look after them,” Minister Ramsay said.

“Justice Dodds-Streeton’s comprehensive report is based on extensive consultation with key ACT stakeholders, including church groups, police, organisations representing survivors of child sexual abuse, and a broad range of government agencies.”

The findings of the report include that the ACT should adopt a new offence for failing to report child sexual abuse to the police. The report recommended the offence apply to all adults, subject to limited exceptions.

The report also recommended that information disclosed in a religious confession should be subject to obligations to report.

“This consultation has proven invaluable to guiding future law changes in the ACT in response to the Royal Commission’s recommendations, and ensuring these amendments are effective and won’t have any unintended consequences,” Minister Ramsay said.

“Developing a culture of child safety in the ACT is a key priority, and the ACT Government is working with the local community, including organisations which provide services to children, to address each and every one of the 307 recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

“The work we are doing will support our community to better understand what needs to be done to protect children from harm and when people need to act and make a report to police or other authorities if they believe a child is being abused.”

The full report is available at www.justice.act.gov.au

- Statement ends -

Section: Gordon Ramsay, MLA | Media Releases

Media Contacts

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Anton Gallacher

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0422 574 108

anton.gallacher@act.gov.au


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