Tasmania’s Catholic Church will usher in a new era this year, with the introduction of an Australian-first child sex abuse reporting system.
It follows the handing down of condemning statistics from the Royal Commission in Sydney this week that heard more than 4000 allegations of child sex abuse had been investigated in the last four years, with up to 40 per cent of one mainland church group allegedly involved in paedophilia.
The new system, created by the Archdiocese of Hobart, will “ensure that in all potential environments where there is a risk of abuse, that risk is alleviated or mitigated” and ensure “that where abuse has unfortunately occurred, the correct internal and external processes are followed”.
The framework, dubbed Safe Communities, will also see:
- All allegations of abuse reported immediately to Tasmania Police and directly to Archbishop Reverend Julian Porteous.
- Resources shared statewide for organisations of Catholics and agencies of the Archdiocese of Hobart.
- Stringent interview and reference checking procedures put in place.
- Police checks for all staff, including volunteers.
- Education and training programs instilled.
Furthermore, Tasmania will use a new Australia-wide Catholic database that allows bishops and leaders of religious congregations to check the background of clerics and brothers visiting or moving to their region.
A company will be used to audit and report on compliance issues statewide.