The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse ('the Commission') has released its report on 14 August 2017, titled ‘ ’. The report includes 85 recommendations aimed at improving the response of the criminal justice system to address victims of institutional child sexual abuse. .
The Commission addressed the general issue of low reporting rates, high attrition rates, lower charging and prosecution rates, fewer convictions and fewer guilty pleas. It addressed issues of delay in reporting leading to lower sentences, lower conviction rates because of exclusion of evidence from multiple victims who were abused at a similar time. In addition, the Commission addressed the issue of institutional abuse within schools or religious institutions, noting that in many cases, perpetrators were protected by the institution and moved from school to school in order to protect them.
Some of the key recommendations include:
The Commission stated in its report:
The extension of mandatory reporting to reports of abuse heard within a religious confessional has received the most attention, and thein this regard. Attorney-General George Brandis responded to the Commission’s report by : “The law does and always has protected certain categories of intimate professional relationships.” He stated that there were issues of religious freedom to consider as well. NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said that .
The Commission has also released a, which is currently open for submissions. It is titled the Evidence (Tendency and Coincidence) Model Provisions, which proposes to amend the Uniform Evidence Laws in the relevant states and territories. The purpose of the Bill will be to allow the use of tendency or coincidence evidence in situations where there are multiple but unrelated victims and a single perpetrator. :
"There the only evidence of child sexual abuse offences is the complainant’s evidence, it is likely to be more difficult for the jury to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the offences occurred because the jury is effectively considering the account of one person against the account of another. If other complainants or witnesses are able to give evidence that the accused also sexually abused them as a child – considered to be tendency or coincidence evidence - this may help the jury to be satisfied of the accused’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt."
The model Bill is currently.
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Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse, ‘,’ released on 14 August 2017, and other associated materials.
Michael Salter, ‘,’ The Conversation, 15 August 2017.
Melissa Davey and agencies, ',' The Guardian Australia, 15 August 2017.
Kristen Gelineau, AAP, ‘,’ ABC News, 14 August 2017.
Stephanie Anderson and Jessica Kidd, ‘,’ ABC News, 14 August 2017.
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