Hobart, Australia, Oct 2, 2018 / 13:01 pm
Catholic priests in the Australian state of Tasmania could face jail time if they fail to report sexual abuse disclosed during the sacrament of confession, ABC news (Australia) has reported.
Draft legislation put forth by the government of the island would make mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse a criminal matter for religious leaders. Many public sector workers already face fines if they fail to report suspected abuse, according to ABC.
The Tasmanian proposal comes amid various attempts by authorities throughout Australia to mandate the breaking of the confessional seal to report cases of child sex abuse, and pushback from Catholics in the country.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse released a report in December 2017 that included 409 recommendations aimed at curbing child sex abuse in the country. The Royal Commission recommended to all Australian states that their laws governing child abuse reporting "should not exempt persons in religious ministry from being required to report knowledge or suspicions formed, in whole or in part, on the basis of information disclosed in or in connection with a religious confession."