Hundreds of Church Sex Abuse Cases Could Be Reopened Decades Later Because the Victim's Names Were Never Given to Police
By Emily Crane
April 20, 2016
Hundreds of church child sex abuse cases dating back decades are being reported to police again because the victim's names were never given to authorities to properly investigate.
The Catholic church in NSW has stopped a controversial procedure known as 'blind reporting', which meant police were never given the victim's name when the church passed on a child sex abuse allegation.
The practice of blind reporting meant many abuse allegations could not be investigated.
|Hundreds of child sex abuse allegations are being freshly reported to NSW police by the Catholic Church because it has scrapped a controversial procedure known as blind reporting|
Documents obtained under freedom of information by NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge show NSW Police has received 1,476 blind reports of child sex abuse in NSW since 2009 - many of which relate to the Catholic church.
The church is now going back over their blind reports and giving the names of victims to police.
'By accepting the Catholic church's practice of blind reporting, police allowed victims to be denied justice and abusers to escape conviction,' Mr Shoebridge told Daily Mail Australia.
'One of the key problems with blind reports is that the police's own protocol says when they get a blind report they don't investigate it. They just file it as criminal intelligence and that means perpetrators are not being brought to justice.'
Some victims of child sex abuse told the ABC they had no idea their complaints would never be investigated due to the blind reporting.
|Documents obtained under freedom of information by NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge show NSW Police has received 1,476 blind reports of child sex abuse from organisation in NSW since 2009 |
A victim, known only as Robert, reported his sex abuse at the hands of a paedophile priest to the Catholic church in 2011. He was told it would be passed on to police but a blind report was lodged, which didn't include his name.
'Blind reporting I think should be against the law,' Robert told the ABC.
'What's the point of telling the police about an allegation without giving them the full information so that they can't investigate?'
Criminal justice issues relating to reporting child sexual abuse, including blind reporting, is the subject of a public roundtable being held by a royal commission in Sydney on Wednesday.
Mr Shoebridge, who was involved in the roundtable, called on NSW Police to stop blind reporting.
Police have not confirmed their position on blind reporting because they say they cannot comment on an issue currently before the royal commission.
|Criminal justice issues relating to reporting child sexual abuse, including blind reporting, is the subject of a public roundtable being held by a royal commission in Sydney on Wednesday by Justice Peter McClellan|