Legislation to further protect kids

THE Loddon Campaspe Centre Against Sexual Assault has welcomed new legislation to further protect children from abuse.

A new offence carrying up to five years in jail will apply to a person who holds a position of responsibility in an organisation and fails to take action where they know there is someone associated with the organisation who poses a risk of sexually abusing children. 

The law will apply to a wide range of organisations including schools, churches, sporting clubs and youth clubs. 

Loddon Campaspe CASA Michael Beaumont-Connop said the legislation, introduced into Parliament on Tuesday, was positive.

"I know that our organisation, the CASA Forum, had been closely involved in monitoring discussions around those sorts of laws," he said.

"There are a number of new laws that have been drafted recently.

"Any new law that has come into place as a response to children, particularly being abused by people who are responsible for their care, protection, is a really good thing.

"As a community, as a society, we are all working together to create networks of understanding through community education and training to raise awareness right through to policy making and law making in an attempt to create a stronger and more just society.

"So we see it as a great thing."

The introduction of the new offences is part of the government’s response to the recommendations of the Family and Community Development Committee’s Betrayal of Trust report on the handling of child sex abuse allegations. 

The new laws will also make it an offence carrying a penalty of up to three years in jail for a person to fail to provide relevant information to police if they know or believe a child has been sexually abused. 

This law will be in addition to current mandatory reporting to child protection authorities. 

It will not be an offence to not report information obtained through the victim seeking medical help or counselling advice, if the information is provided by a victim after they have reached the age of 16 and the victim requests that the information not be disclosed

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