Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk has welcomed the first successful prosecution under Western Australia’s mandatory reporting legislation to protect children from sexual abuse.
A Perth Magistrate today found that the prosecution had proved its case against two former Trinity College teachers who did not report the sexual abuse of a child, contrary to s.124B of the Children and Community Services Act 2004.
The two men were charged with failing in their mandatory duty to report an incident of sexual abuse to authorities under State legislation introduced in 2009.
The men were found to have been aware of the serious nature of the incident, but failed to report the abuse as required under the legislation. The Magistrate imposed a penalty of a fine in the amount of $1,200 to each.
Legal costs were awarded to the Department of Communities, who brought the prosecution, in the sum of $5,500 each.
The McGowan Government has continued its strong support of the work of the landmark Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse by strengthening criminal law responses to child sexual abuse and improving access to support for children in out-of-home care.
It has also introduced amendments to the Children and Community Services Act 2004, now before the Legislative Council, to extend mandatory reporting requirements to ministers of religion, including when information about child sexual abuse is gained during confession.
As stated by Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk:
“The successful prosecution of these two former teachers under mandatory reporting legislation sends a clear message about the expectation that child safety is always paramount.
“The State Government is committed to creating a safer Western Australia for children and young people, and will not ignore instances of child sexual abuse.
“The community has a right to expect that our children are safe, especially within the institutions that we all trust to protect them.”