Confessed Child Abuse Must be Reported
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Mark Coleridge, Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane, stated that priests hearing confessions regarding child abuse, be it the abuser or the abused will be kept confidential.
Archbishop Coleridge said the bishops and religious leaders had the utmost respect for the rule of law, but mandatory reporting legislation covering information disclosed in confession was ill-conceived and impracticable.
This goes against the mandatory reporting laws in place throughout Australia. Even though the laws differ in each state and territory, no one person or organisation, apart from the Catholic church, can state they will not be a part of this law. Mandatory reporting is a term used to describe the legislative requirement imposed on selected classes of people to report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect to government authorities. The groups of people mandated to notify cases of suspected child abuse and neglect range from persons in a limited number of occupations (e.g., Qld), to a more extensive list (Vic., WA), to a very extensive list (ACT, NSW, SA, Tas.), through to every adult (NT; and Vic. for sexual offences).
Why is the Catholic Church above the law?
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