Priest sexual abuse victim says law not requiring religious groups to police vet children’s workers is dangerous


February 26 2017

Spiritual leaders with access to children are not subject to police vetting, a loophole that urgently needs closing, according to a victim of historic sex abuse.

Ann-Marie Shelley, of Upper Hutt, was abused by Catholic priest Peter Hercock, who molested her when she was a teenager, along with three other girls.

“As more voluntary groups become known for their rigorous screening practices, potential child abusers will be put off even applying for work with children.”

As it stands now, the law states that all State-funded organisations have to vet children’s workers. But despite a legacy of child sexual abuse scandals, the law does not cover religious institutions.

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