Mandated notification law change aims to provide more protection for Tas children
A change to mandated notification laws in Tasmania earlier this week aims to provide greater protections for Tasmanian children and hold offenders to account.
Earlier this week the Criminal Code and Related Legislation Amendment (Child Abuse) Bill 2018 changes passed through the House of Assembly.
The Bill makes a number of amendments in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which includes making members of religious ministry, and members of the Tasmanian Parliament mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect, and contains important information for those working in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector.
Or particular note, the Bill introduces a new crime of ‘failing to report the abuse of a child’ in response to the Royal Commission’s recommendations, putting the safety of children front and centre, the Tasmanian Attorney-General Elise Archer said.
In addition, confessional privilege will no longer be able to be relied upon by members of religious ministry as a means of refusal to disclose information.
Other important reforms progressed by this Bill include:
- the broadening of Tasmania’s ‘grooming offence’ to target predators who seek to exploit the trust of others in order to gain access to children; and,
- strengthening the use of pre-recording audio-visual evidence for sexual offences to ensure that victims, where possible, are not required to give evidence twice and may have their evidence taken early in the process to reduce the risk of re-traumatisation.
This Bill delivers on the Hodgman Government’s commitment to implement a number of recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Ms Archer said she wished to acknowledge the “significant courage” of people affected by institutional child sexual abuse who shared their personal stories to the Royal Commission as a vehicle for affecting change.
“This Government remains committed to better protecting our children,” Ms Archer said.
For more information on the Bill, please see here.