18 Jun 2018

Australian priests fined if not reporting sex abuse confessions

From Morning Report, 8:44 am on 18 June 2018

Some Catholic priests will soon be facing a ten thousand dollar fine over the Tasman if someone confesses child sex abuse to them and they don't report it to the police. Both South Australia and ACT have law changes coming to crack open the confessional. This could spread nationwide under the federal Government's newly released response to the Royal Commission into child sex abuse. That inquiry found the confessional contributed to both abuse and to the church covering it up. But the Australian Bishops have hit back, saying removing a priest's legal protection will not make children safer. They have not released their response to the inquiry's recommendations as a whole, sparking fear the Church won't cooperate. An adviser to the Australian inquiry Professor Des Cahill told reporter Phil Pennington the implications extend across the Tasman.