New abuse laws to protect children

New abuse laws to protect children

New laws and measures were implemented on 1 July 2017 to better protect children from abuse in Victoria.

These changes deliver on key recommendations from the 2013 Betrayal of Trust report and recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The Wrongs Amendment (Organisational Child Abuse) Act 2017 places 'duty of care requirements' on Victorian religious institutions, childcare facilities, government bodies and community organisations, holding them to account should children be abused under their care.

A 'Reportable Conduct Scheme' is also now in effect, requiring certain organisations to report to the Commission for Children and Young People on any allegations of child abuse and misconduct. This measure ensures that any person who is deemed to pose a risk to children, regardless of their criminal record, is unable to work with them.

The Crimes Amendment (Sexual Offences) Act 2016 has reformed 50 sexual offences to use more modern terminology and considers the use of digital technology. Perpetrators can now be charged for abuse that occurs on the internet or in a digital setting (i.e. Skype or Snapchat) regardless of whether a child was physically present. In addition, the Act removes the term 'child pornography' and replaces it with'child abuse material'. The definition has also been broadened to include physical abuse.

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