Victorian parliament has passed laws making it mandatory for priests to report child abuse, including when it is revealed to them during confession.
A bill introduced by the state Labor government passed the upper house on Tuesday after last week getting a green light from the Legislative Assembly, with opposition support.
"Today we've made Victoria a safer place for children. The special treatment for churches has ended and child abuse must be reported," Child Protection Minister Luke Donnellan said in a statement.
"I thank all the abuse survivors, their families and advocates who helped us deliver these reforms. We can't undo the harm to so many children in the past, but this will help ensure it never happens again."
Under the laws, priests and religious leaders face up to three years' jail if they don't report child physical and sexual abuse allegations.
We can't undo the harm to so many children in the past, but this will help ensure it never happens again.Luke Donnellan, Child Protection Minister
The Catholic Church has insisted priests would be obliged to defy the laws, with Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli previously stating he was prepared to go to jail rather than break the confessional seal.
"For Catholics, Confession is a religious encounter of a deeply personal nature. It deserves confidentiality," he said in August.
Clergy are already subject to mandatory reporting laws in South Australia and the Northern Territory, while Western Australia and Tasmania have announced plans to compel religious leaders to disclose knowledge of abuse.
Teachers, police and medical practitioners are already legally required to report child physical and sexual abuse allegations.
- Benita Kolovos, AAP