Lawyers welcome new laws forcing priests to report child sexual abuse in Queensland

9 September 2020
Lawyers for abuse survivors have welcomed legislation passed into law in Queensland which could see priests jailed for failing to report confessions of child sexual abuse.

Maurice Blackburn head of Abuse Law, Michelle James, said it was as a key recommendation of the Royal Commission that admissions of abuse made through the confessional be reported.

“This is extremely important legislation for the protection of children and the Queensland Government are to be commended for joining other states in acting on this,” Ms James said.

“Plenty of professions, including doctors and health professionals, have long had obligations to report instances of abuse.

“Sadly however the Catholic Church and others have continued to stubbornly resist this important reform.

“There is absolutely no excuse for Catholic Church clergy to not be held to the same standards in ensuring the safety of children is made a priority.

“The position of the Catholic Church resisting such changes is untenable – no institution should be above the law.

“We also know from the Royal Commission that failure to report abuse and to act on complaints was a key factor in allowing systemic abuse to occur, sometimes for decades.

“The safety of children must come first,” she said.

Media inquiries: Jacob O'Shaughnessy at Maurice Blackburn on 0428 814 037 or via jo'shaughnessy@mauriceblackburn.com.au

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