Significant legislative changes recommended by Committee (13.11.2013)
Written on the 14 November 2013
FAMILY AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MEDIA RELEASE
From Committee Chair, Ms Georgie Crozier MP
13 November 2013
Committee Chair, Ms Georgie Crozier MP said she hoped the recommendations would help victims to pursue justice more easily and provide a foundation for protecting our children into the future.
‘The criminal abuse of children involves extremely serious breaches of the laws of our community,’ Ms Crozier said.'
When it happens in our society’s most trusted organisations, it is a betrayal beyond comprehension.’
‘Those who engage in it, or are in positions of authority and conceal such offences, should be dealt with under the criminal law. In the past, crimes have been covered up and organisations have prioritised their reputation and finances, but no more.’
Criminal law changes
Ms Crozier said the Committee had made three key recommendations to create new criminal laws and strengthen Victoria’s existing laws:
- 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
‘Our Report makes recommendations to improve avenues of justice for those children who are now adults and seek vindication for past wrongs,’ said Ms Crozier.
- Removing 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
- Duty of care and liability—legislative amendments to ensure organisations are held accountable for their legal duty to protect children from criminal abuse, and that they can be
‘Our Report also has proposals to make it easier for victims to sue an organisation by recommending changes to ensure they are a legal entity,’ said Ms Crozier. ‘We propose that organisations receiving
An independent, alternative avenue for justice
Ms Crozier said that the Committee acknowledged that barriers will still exist for a number of victims in accessing the civil justice system so they have recommended establishing an independent,
‘We believe this alternative justice avenue for victims should be paid for by non?government organisations and operated absolutely independent of organisations,’ said Ms Crozier. ‘In designing a
‘A key feature of the scheme would be that victims receive an independent determination of their claim and assessment of their individual needs, and that would then be funded by the relevant
‘During the Inquiry the Committee welcomed the commitment made by many organisations to actively cooperate with any new schemes established in response to our recommendations. A failure
Preventative measures and ongoing independent monitoring
Ms Crozier said that prevention was a strong focus of the Report.
‘Preventing criminal child abuse in the first place is our aim and there’s a number of ways we can improve our preventative framework.’
‘Scrutiny of the systems and processes used by organisations by an independent statutory body is also recommended, armed with the relevant powers, resources and authority to take on this important
Justice for victims
‘Victims have said loud and clear that they want justice, and that means different things for different people. Our Committee has proposed an umbrella of protections that we hope will allow victims to
‘We are acutely aware of how important this Inquiry has been for victims and that they have been waiting for our report with anticipation,’ Ms Crozier said.
‘The Committee thanks every victim who has had the courage to come forward to tell their story. We have not only listened to you, but we have heard you.
‘To those people who have, for years and years, pursued justice on behalf of other victims, your commitment to seek change and accountability on these issues has played a huge role in this Inquiry
‘We hope this report and our recommendations will help prevent abuse of children in nongovernment organisations into the future in Victoria but also that our Inquiry will assist the work of
The final report is available on the homepage of the Parliament of Victoria website at www.parliament.vic.gov.au.
Help for victims of crime in Victoria is still available through the Victorian Government’s Victims of Crime Helpline
on 1800 819 817
Task Force Sano has been set up in response to this Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry to investigate current and historic cases of child sexual abuse.
Their contact number is (03) 9247 6666 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Royal Commission’s phone number is 1800 099 340 or email: email@example.com
For media queries by journalists, please contact Amanda Kennedy on 0409 890 658
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