The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government recently released an analysis report on the implementation of Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommendations regarding the reporting of child sexual abuse, with implications for the confessional seal.
The Hon. Justice Julie Dodds-Streeton was commissioned to prepare the report to support the development of legislative reforms by the ACT Government to give effect to certain recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Under the proposed new laws it will be a crime for an adult in Canberra not to report suspected child sexual abuse.
The analysis report outlines the most effective approach to introducing new laws around the reporting of child sexual abuse and addresses whether the proposed legislation will break the confessional seal.
A written submission by ANU Law scholar, Professor Pauline Ridge, is cited in the report.
“How should the right to freedom of religion be balanced with the fundamental rights and freedoms of others, especially children, and with the state’s interests?
“The issue of whether persons hearing a religious confession should be legally obliged to break the confessional seal in order to report suspicions of child sexual abuse raises difficult and complex questions about the relationship of religion and state in a secular society,” says Professor Ridge.
“I was pleased to be able to apply my knowledge of law and religion to this challenging and important question and I applaud the final report of Justice Dodds-Streeton,” says Professor Ridge.
Click here to download the full report.