Tasmania Passes Child Abuse Reporting Laws

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

Laws forcing priests to report child sexual abuse, including when heard during confession, have passed Tasmanian parliament.

The Liberal-introduced bill was voted through the state’s upper house on Wednesday, a day after similar laws passed in Victoria.

“Our legislation makes it clear that all members of the community must do everything in their power to protect children and prevent child abuse from occurring,” Attorney-General Elise Archer said in a statement.

It comes after similar legislation introduced by Victoria’s Labor government passed that state’s parliament on Tuesday, imposing up to three years in jail if they don’t report child physical and sexual abuse allegations.

Catholic authorities say the seal helps survivors to start their journey of recovery, as they can remain anonymous and speak for as little or as much time as they like.

Some priests have raised concerns of entrapment of clergy to ensure the laws are being enforced.

Melbourne Catholic archbishop Peter Comensoli has already said he’d rather go to jail than break the confessional seal but Premier Daniel Andrews says in Victoria, the laws of the parliament trump Canon law.

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