What can institutions and governments do to achieve best practice in the reporting of, and responding to reports, information or allegations of child sexual abuse in institutional contexts?
To assist in answering this question the Royal Commission commissioned a report into mandatory reporting laws.
The major focus of the report is to review and explain the legislative principles for mandatory reporting to child welfare agencies of child sexual abuse, and to trace changes in the development of the laws since their inception to the present day.
The Royal Commission is investigating its 21st public hearing this week, the last for 2014. The Catholic Church has been the focus of just over a third of the case load since the Royal Commission commenced public hearings in September last year.
We anticipate from mid-2015 further Church institutions will come under scrutiny. We can expect Catholic Church institutions will then remain under the spot light throughout the course of Royal Commission.
The Church has listened and is now putting in place reform policies that will strengthen the Church's approach to the safety of children and vulnerable people. The first step is managing a broad consultation process to establish an independent accreditation and auditing body.
Historical review of child sex abuse legislation released
On behalf of the Royal Commission the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) has undertaken a historical review of sexual offence legislation in Australia, particularly as it related to children, from British colonisation in 1788 to the present.
The purpose of the report is to increase the understanding of the socio-political context within which child sexual abuse legislation developed in Australia and internationally; and provide an overview of the offences with which a person who sexually abused a child may have been charged during 1950–2013.
Religious leaders from across denominations and around Australia have come together to pen a letter to the Chair of the ABC voicing their strong concerns about cut backs to funding and resources for ABC religion programing. The letter has been signed by Bishop Peter Ingham, chair of the Australian Catholic Media Council.