Child abuse reporting requirements have changed
New requirements apply to information about child abuse disclosed during religious confession.
Religious organisations in the ACT are required to report allegations about child abuse by an employee, religious officer or volunteer to the ACT Ombudsman since 1 July 2018. However, until now religious organisations were exempt from reporting information disclosed in religious confession.
The exemption for religious organisations changed on the 1 September 2019.
The legislation now requires religious organisations to:
- report allegations of reportable conduct made during a religious confession if they relate to child sexual abuse or non-accidental physical injury to a child to the ACT Ombudsman
- nominate a head of entity and tell the ACT Ombudsman
The new law also clarifies that a person is not considered an employee of a religious organisation, just because they take part in worship.
The ACT Ombudsman can talk to organisations about their obligations under the scheme. Religious organisations can contact the Ombudsman by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 02 6276 3773.
Information on Reportable Conduct Scheme
Nomination form for head of entity
Justice and Community factsheets about reporting child abuse
The Royal Commission Criminal Justice Legislation Amendment Act 2019 passed the ACT Assembly in March 2019. The changes start on 1 September 2019.