Calls for mandatory reporting of child sex abuse

MANDATORY reporting of child sexual abuse by religious ministers, including after  confession, could be considered by members of a state inquiry.

Members of the Victorian Parliamentary inquiry into sex abuse by clergy and other non-government organ-

isations yesterday continued to ask witnesses about mandatory reporting powers of priests.

Representatives of the state’s Centres Against Sexual Assault yesterday told the committee mandatory reporting rules should be extended to admissions made during confession.

The Catholic Church in Victoria supports an extension of mandatory reporting rules except where priests would have to break the confidentiality of the confessional.

Carolyn Worth of South Eastern CASA told the committee increased reporting would lead to better outcomes for vulnerable children and the current rules “encouraged a climate of secrecy”.

“I think it sends a community message to organisations that (reporting) is what is expected of you, and it is no different to teachers or community workers.” 

New laws in Ireland require priests to report confessions of sexual abuse of children.