South Aus­tralia to com­pel pri­ests to re­port abuse re­vealed in con­fes­sion

The Guardian Australia - - Headlines -

South Aus­tralia will be­come the first state to legally com­pel clergy to re­port child sex­ual abuse re­vealed in con­fes­sion, as the state’s at­tor­ney gen­eral, Vickie Chap­man, urges oth­ers to fol­low suit.

Un­der new laws set to take ef­fect in Oc­to­ber, pri­ests who hear con­fes­sions about child abuse will have a manda­tory obli­ga­tion to re­port the mat­ter to po­lice.

The state will be­come the first to adopt a royal com­mis­sion rec­om­men­da­tion to re­move the ex­emp­tion from manda­tory re­port­ing for pri­ests hear­ing con­fes­sion.

The act­ing Arch­bishop of Ade­laide, Greg O’Kelly, said the church was “un­aware of this change” un­til to­day “and the im­pli­ca­tions are now be­ing con­sid­ered”, ac­cord­ing to the ABC.

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The fed­eral at­tor­ney gen­eral, Chris­tian Porter, said on Wednesday all states and ter­ri­to­ries will be urged to adopt sim­i­lar law changes as part of the na­tional re­sponse to the royal com­mis­sion into in­sti­tu­tional re­sponses to child sex­ual abuse.

Chap­man urged other states to take sim­i­lar steps.

“These are state-based re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, law and or­der are state-based ju­ris­dic­tions,” she said on Thursday.

“We worked with the for­mer gov­ern­ment [af­ter] our royal com­mis­sions, both Ny­land and Mul­lighan, to deal with this is­sue, and took note when we re­ceived the in­terim re­ports of the na­tional royal com­mis­sion.”

Chap­man said the state gov­ern­ment was re­spon­si­ble for 104 of a to­tal 189 rec­om­men­da­tions of the royal com­mis­sion.

Of the 104, 66 were ac­cepted, one re­jected and a fur­ther 37 were still be­ing con­sid­ered.

“It’s crit­i­cal that the ter­ri­ble legacy of child sex­ual abuse is ad­dressed with a com­pre­hen­sive suite of poli­cies at both the fed­eral and state level,” Chap­man said.

Pho­to­graph: Eu­ca­lyp­tys/ Getty Im­ages

SA will be first state to adopt royal com­mis­sion rec­om­men­da­tion to re­move con­fes­sion ex­emp­tion.

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