Simon Creek from, HHG Legal Group, joined Mike on Weekdays to discuss the new Child Safety Laws which recently passed the WA Parliament.
It requires ministers of religion to report child sexual abuse, including information gained during confession. The State Government says “the safety of children is at the heart of the mandatory reporting reforms. Which will better protect children by increasing the number of people who are legally required to report child sexual abuse.”
Mandatory reporting laws also extend to early childhood workers, out-of-home care workers, registered psychologists, school counsellors and youth justice workers. Under the new laws there will be no excuse for failing to make a mandatory report, because a minister’s belief was based on information disclosed during a religious confession. Or because making the report would otherwise be contrary to the tenets of the minister’s faith or religion.
Simon Creek said this is causing a major clash, particularly with the Catholic Church, who profess that a confession stays between the Priest, God and the Confessor.
“My long term prediction is that it will end up in the High Court because there is conflict between freedom of religion and the freedom to comply with your beliefs above all else. On the other hand the argument that the one condition, is compliance with the laws of the land.”
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