New laws about reporting child sexual abuse to be enacted in the ACT
The Australian Capital Territory Government released a report yesterday, outlining the most effective approach to introducing new laws regarding the reporting of child sexual abuse, following the commission late last year of 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.
The ACT Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay said the ACT Government would be introducing a suite of criminal justice reforms on Thursday 21 February following the release of the 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 report findings include a recommendation 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, in line with similar recommendations made in other states.
“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,” Minister Ramsey said.
The full report is available at www.justice.act.gov.au