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Australia Leads NY

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New York and Australia. Different policies on stopping sexual abuse.

Australia has the same approximate population as New York State. Unlike New York, Australia realizes that child sexual abuse is a serious drain on the nation’s economy and human potential. Australia commissioned a major study on the issue, and came up with 15 recommendations. One of them is the elimination of the Statute of Limitations for child sex abuse.

Meanwhile, NY’s policy seems to be “let’s keep hoping people forget about this”.

Justice Peter McClellan (L), gives his opening remarks at the beginning of the public hearings at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney on September 16, 2013. The Australian inquiry into church and institutional child abuse began public hearings on September 16, with warnings that widespread and "shocking" allegations would be heard against places of worship, orphanages, community groups and schools. AFP PHOTO / POOL / Jeremy PIPER        (Photo credit should read JEREMY PIPER/AFP/Getty Images)

Recommendations of the Victorian Parliament’s inquiry into the handling of child abuse by religious and other organisations

These are the 15 recommendations of the Victorian Parliament’s inquiry into the handling of child abuse by religious and other organisations.

Reform criminal law

Compulsory reporting to police – Legislative amendments to ensure that a person who fails to report or conceals criminal child abuse will be guilty of an offence.
A new child endangerment offence – Making it a criminal offence for people in authority to knowingly put a child at risk, or fail to remove them from a known risk, of criminal child abuse.
A new grooming offence – The creation of a separate criminal offence extending beyond current grooming laws to make it an offence to groom a child, their parents or others with the intention of committing a sexual offence against the child (regardless of whether the sexual
offence occurs).

Easier access to the civil justice system

Address legal entity of non-government organisations – Require non-government organisations to be incorporated and adequately insured.
New structures – The Victorian Government is to work with the Australian Government to require organisations that engage with children to adopt incorporated legal structures.
Remove time limits – Legislative amendments to exclude criminal child abuse from the current statute of limitations, recognising that it can take decades for victims to come forward. Click here to sign our petition to remove the time limits in New York.
Assistance applications – Legislative amendments to specify no time limits apply to applications for assistance by victims of criminal child abuse.
Duty of care – Ensure organisations are held accountable and have a legal duty to prevent criminal child abuse.

Avenue for justice

Specific scheme for victims of child abuse – An independent alternative avenue for justice for victims not in a position to pursue civil claims in the courts. It will be operated independently of organisations but paid for by the organisations.

Improving organisation responses to allegations of criminal child abuse

Independent statutory body – To oversee and monitor the handling of child abuse allegations by organisations, undertake independent investigations and scrutinise and audit systems in place.
Review – Current Department of Education and early childhood development procedures for responding to child abuse allegations.

Prevention

Effective selection of suitable personnel – Institute a system of compliance under the Working with Children Act
Manage situational risk – Government it review its contractual and funding arrangements with organisations that work with children to ensure a minimum standard for a child-safe environment.
Prevention systems and processes – The Government should identify a way to support peak bodies to build preventative capacity.
Awareness – The Government to ensure non-government organisations are equipped with information regarding the prevention of child abuse.
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