Developments in Australian laws requiring the reporting of suspected child sexual abuse

Mathews, Benjamin P., Goddard, Chris, Lonne, Robert L., Short, Stephanie, & Briggs, Freda (2009) Developments in Australian laws requiring the reporting of suspected child sexual abuse. Children Australia, 34(3), pp. 18-23.

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Thousands of Australian children are sexually abused every year, and the effects can be severe and long lasting. Not only is child sexual abuse a public health problem, but the acts inflicted are criminal offences. Child sexual abuse usually occurs in private, typically involving relationships featuring a massive imbalance in power and an abuse of that power. Those who inflict child sexual abuse seek to keep it secret, whether by threats or more subtle persuasion. As a method of responding to this phenomenon and in an effort to uncover cases of sexual abuse that otherwise would not come to light, governments in Australian States and Territories have enacted legislation requiring designated persons to report suspected child sexual abuse. With Western Australia’s new legislation having commenced on 1 January 2009, every Australian State and Territory government has now passed these laws, so that there is now, for the first time, an almost harmonious legislative approach across Australia to the reporting of child sexual abuse. Yet there remain differences in the State and Territory laws regarding who has to make reports, which cases of sexual abuse are required to be reported, and whether suspected future abuse must be reported. These differences indicate that further refinement of the laws is required

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ID Code: 29588
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Child protection, Legislation, Legal consistency
ISSN: 1035-0772
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Law and Society (180119)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Research Centres > Law and Justice Research Centre
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Oz Child - Children Australia
Deposited On: 10 Jan 2010 21:53
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 14:04

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