Under the Children, Youth and Families Act, people in religious ministries are now mandatory reporters of child abuse to Child Protection Services.
Mandatory reporting refers to the legal requirement for nominated groups to report a reasonable belief of physical or sexual child abuse to authorities.
The legislation states that a “person in religious ministry means a person appointed, ordained, or otherwise recognised as a religious or spiritual leader in a religious institution”.
The law makes it mandatory for ministers and other appointed religious leaders to report child abuse, including when it is revealed to them during a confession. Under the law, ministers and religious leaders face up to three years’ jail if they don’t report child physical and sexual abuse allegations. This law was supported by both the Government and the Opposition.
The Victorian Government have issued a media release regarding this.
It has been our practice for some time now that CCVT and its Affiliates have a zero tolerance policy for Child Abuse and that, regardless of being mandated, all people should report all types of abuse all the time.
The recent addition of “people in religious ministry” to the list of occupations that come under mandatory reporting is therefore a welcome change in the legislation that underpins our current practice.
Any questions about this may be directed to the Safe Places Coordinator.