Child abuse reporting requirements have changed

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 act@ombudsman.gov.au or calling 02 6276 3773.

More information

Information on Reportable Conduct Scheme

Nomination form for head of entity

Justice and Community factsheets about reporting child abuse

Background

The Royal Commission Criminal Justice Legislation Amendment Act 2019 passed the ACT Assembly in March 2019. The changes start on 1 September 2019.