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15 recommendations from the royal commission you should know about

The final report from the almost five-year royal commission into child sexual abuse was officially handed to the Governor-General this morning.

The document is tens of thousands of pages long, and contains a total of 409 recommendations which aim to make institutions safer for children.

Of those 409 recommendations, 189 recommendations are new today.

You can follow our live blog for updates as we continue to read through the report. But if you're strapped for time, here are some of the big ones you should know about.

For religious institutions:

  • The ministry of churches (not just the Catholic Church) should not be exempt from reporting information discovered in religious confession.
  • Any religious organisation with a rite of religious confession should implement a policy that confession for children be conducted in an open space and in a clear line of sight of another adult.
  • The Australian Catholic Church should request permission from the Vatican to introduce voluntary celibacy for diocesan clergy.
  • Candidates for religious ministry should undergo external psychological testing, including psychosexual assessment, to determine their suitability to be in the ministry and to undertake work involving children.
  • Any person in religious ministry who is the subject of a complaint of child sexual abuse which is substantiated … or who is convicted of an offence relating to child sexual abuse, should be permanently removed from ministry.

For the Federal Government:

  • The Australian Government should oversee the development and implementation of a national strategy to prevent child sexual abuse.
  • The Australian Government should establish a National Office for Child Safety.
  • The Commonwealth Government should establish a national model for Working With Children Checks within 12 months, to include the creation of a centralised database accessible across states.
  • The Australian Government should initiate a review to be conducted 10 years after the tabling of this final report.
  • The Australian Government should establish a mechanism to regularly audit the implementation of the Child Safe Standards in immigration detention by staff, contractors and agents of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
  • A national memorial should be commissioned by the Australian Government for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse in institutional contexts. Victims and survivors should be consulted on the memorial design and it should be located in Canberra.

For state governments:

  • All state and territory governments should introduce legislation to provide that good character be excluded as a mitigating factor in sentencing for child sexual abuse offences where that good character facilitated the offending, similar to that applying in New South Wales and South Australia.
  • State and territory governments should introduce legislation to create a criminal offence of failure to protect a child from risk of abuse within an institution.
  • State and territory governments should extend grooming laws so that it is not just an offence to groom a child, but also to groom their parents or carers.
  • State and territory governments should provide nationally consistent and easily accessible guidance to teachers and principals on preventing and responding to child sexual abuse in all government and non-government schools.

External Link: Royal commission preface and executive summary

Original Article

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