ACT Child Sexual Abuse Laws

On 1 September 2019, the ACT Government introduced these laws to improve the reporting of child abuse:

  • Adults who reasonably believe that a sexual offence has been committed against a child must make a report to the police. Failure to make a report is an offence.
  • The laws create a new criminal offence for failing to report child sexual abuse to the police. The Failure to Report offence applies to all adults and you must tell police if you reasonably believe a sexual offence has been committed against a child. To report abuse call ACT Policing on 131 444
  • Ministers of religion, religious leaders and members of the clergy of a church or religious denomination will be mandated reporters.  This means that along with other professionals working with children, these groups are mandated under law to report their concerns regarding physical or sexual abuse of a child to Child and Youth Protection Services. (The same mandatory reporting obligations apply irrespective of whether the information was disclosed in a religious confession).
  • Information disclosed in a religious confession will need to be reported to the ACT Ombudsman under this Scheme if it relates to sexual abuse against a child, or non-accidental physical injury to a child.

Four important fact sheets on these new laws can be found at the following links:

For more information

Justice and Community Safety Directorate