Lawyers welcome greater reporting of child sexual abuse in Western Australia
23 May 2019
Lawyers for abuse survivors have today welcomed that Western Australia will introduce changes to the state’s mandatory reporting laws to ensure allegations of abuse, including those raised in the confessional, will be reported.
Maurice Blackburn National Head of Abuse Law Michelle James said proposed amendments in Western Australia that would see religious ministers forced to report suspected child abuse was a welcome step.
“This is an important development in Western Australia, who will soon join other states in acting on this key measure to ensure any concerns or allegations of abuse are reported, including those raised in the confessional,” Ms James said.
“We know from the hundreds of case studies reported to the Royal Commission that failure to report abuse and to act on complaints was a key issue in allowing systemic abuse to occur, sometimes for decades, in many Australian institutions.
“We have also long called for all states to ensure that admissions of abuse made through Catholic Church confessionals are also reported – this was a recommendation of the Royal Commission and while the Church continues to fiercely resist this, it is pleasing to see states are stepping up to force action on this important measure.
“As has been made clear in Western Australia, there are many other professions, including doctors and health professionals, who have an obligation to report instances of abuse.
“There is no excuse for the Catholic Church clergy to not be held to these same standards in ensuring that the safety of children is made a priority,” she said.
Media inquiries: Jade Thompson at Maurice Blackburn on 0417 969 438