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Tasmanian law forces priests to report confessed child sex abuse


Laws forcing priests in Tasmania to report allegations of child sex abuse revealed during confession have passed through the state’s lower house.


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The amended legislation makes members of religious ministry, as well as members of the Tasmanian parliament, mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect.

“Under this reform, members of religious ministry will not be able to rely on the confessional privilege to refuse to disclose information,” Attorney General Elise Archer said.

Lifting the seal of confession was one of more than 400 recommendations made in 2018 by the royal commission into institutionalised child sex abuse.

The legislation, which now heads to the upper house after passing the House of Assembly on Tuesday, broadens the definition of grooming to include those who try to exploit the trust of others in order to reach children.

It also strengthens the use of audio and visual recording in taking the evidence of sexual abuse survivors, meaning they’re less likely to be required to give the same evidence twice.


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