Progessing child abuse legislation

Progessing child abuse legislation

Victorian children will be better protected under new laws announced by the Andrews Labor Government on 22 November 2016.

The Wrongs Amendment (Organisational Child Abuse) Bill 2016 will impose a 'duty of care' on organisations so they can be held responsible for abuse. In addition the 'onus of proof' will be reversed, meaning that organisations will need to prove that reasonable steps were taken to prevent abuse.

"The Victorian Government are playing a leading role in safeguarding children, and ensuring that organisations can be held responsible for staff or personnel who are perpetrators of abuse," says Bree Knoester, Partner at Adviceline Injury Lawyers.

The Bill delivers on key recommendations from the 2013 ?Betrayal of Trust' report, and will apply to all religious institutions, community organisations, childcare facilities and government bodies that exercise care, supervision or authority over children, and are capable of being sued.

The Labor Government remains open to participating in a national redress scheme for victims of historical child sexual abuse. Bodies who join the scheme will be required to pay out eligible claims against them. The Government is unable to force participation, and South Australia has already opted out.

To avoid further delays for victims, the Victorian Labor Government continues to develop a state-based scheme.

Acting for many victims of abuse, Bree Knoester guides and supports her clients through the legal process with consistent and carefully considered advice. For a confidential discussion, you can contact Bree on her direct telephone number (03) 9321 9879.

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