Priests ‘should report confessed abuse’

Herald Sun

By Patrick Caruana
From: AAP
February 28, 2013

CATHOLIC priests who hear confessions about the sexual abuse of children should be obliged to report the crimes to police, a Victorian inquiry has heard.

Priests aren’t subject to mandatory reporting requirements if they suspect child abuse and are obliged by the church to keep secret anything divulged to them during confessions.

Former Victorian MP and lawyer Dianne Haddin says laws covering the church’s disclosure obligations need to be toughened.

The protection of children must be paramount, Ms Haddin told a parliamentary inquiry into sexual abuse within religious organisations in Victoria.

“We can no longer accept that a priest can abuse a child and continue to abuse a child and be protected by the church and canon law,” she told the inquiry in Ballarat on Thursday.

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