In response to the Betrayal of Trust Report, the Victorian Government has introduced new criminal offences to protect children from sexual abuse. Under these reforms a failure to report, or take action in relation to suspected child sexual abuse can now constitute a criminal offence, including a:
Failure to disclose
- This offence applies to all adults (not just professionals who work with children) who form a reasonable belief that that another adult may have committed a sexual offence against a child under 16 years of age and fail to report this information to Victoria Police.
Failing to disclose a sexual offence based on concerns for the interests of the perpetrator or organisation (e.g. concerns about reputation, legal liability or financial status) will not be regarded as a reasonable excuse.
Failure to protect
- This offence applies to person in a position of authority within an organisation who :
- knows of a substantial risk that a child under the age of 16, under the care, supervision or authority of the organisation will become a victim of a sexual offence committed by an adult associated with the organisation (e.g. employee, contractors, volunteer, visitor); and
- negligently fails to remove or reduce the risk of harm.
Within a school setting, a position of authority includes Principals and Assistant Principals and staff in institutional management positions (for example in government schools this includes Regional Directors and other senior managers).
For further information on these offences, see: