Section 316A of the Crimes Act 1900 is Concealing Child Abuse Offence and is extracted below.
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Section 316A of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with the offence of ‘Concealing Child Abuse Offence’ and reads as follows:
316A Concealing Child Abuse Offence
(1) An adult:
(a) who knows, believes or reasonably ought to know that a child abuse offence has been committed against another person, and
(b) who knows, believes or reasonably ought to know that he or she has information that might be of material assistance in securing the apprehension of the offender or the prosecution or conviction of the offender for that offence, and
(c) who fails without reasonable excuse to bring that information to the attention of a member of the NSW Police Force as soon as it is practicable to do so, is guilty of an offence.
Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for:
(a) 2 years–if the maximum penalty for the child abuse offence is less than 5 years imprisonment, or
(b) 5 years–if the maximum penalty for the child abuse offence is 5 years imprisonment or more.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), a person has a reasonable excuse for failing to bring information to the attention of a member of the NSW Police Force if:
(a) the person believes on reasonable grounds that the information is already known to police, or
(b) the person has reported the information in accordance with the applicable requirements under Part 2 of Chapter 3 of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 or believes on reasonable grounds that another person has done so, or
(c) the person has reported the information to the Ombudsman under Part 3A of the Ombudsman Act 1974 or believes on reasonable grounds that another person has done so, or
(d) the person has reasonable grounds to fear for the safety of the person or any other person (other than the offender) if the information were to be reported to police, or
(e) the information was obtained by the person when the person was under the age of 18 years, or
(f) the alleged victim was an adult at the time that the information was obtained by the person and the person believes on reasonable grounds that the alleged victim does not wish the information to be reported to police, or
(g) the information is about an offence under section 60E that did not result in any injury other than a minor injury (for example, minor bruising, cuts or grazing of the skin) and the alleged offender and the alleged victim are both school students who are under the age of 18 years, but only if the person is a member of staff of:
(i) a government school and the person has taken reasonable steps to ensure that the incident reporting unit (however described) of the Department of Education is made aware of the alleged offence, or
(ii) a non-government school and the person has taken reasonable steps to ensure that the principal or governing body of the school is made aware of the alleged offence.
(3) Subsection (2) does not limit the grounds on which it may be established that a person has a reasonable excuse for failing to bring information to the attention of a member of the NSW Police Force.
(4) A person who solicits, accepts or agrees to accept any benefit for the person or any other person in consideration for doing anything that would be an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of an offence.
Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for:
(a) 5 years–if the maximum penalty for the child abuse offence is less than 5 years imprisonment, or
(b) 7 years–if the maximum penalty for the child abuse offence is 5 years imprisonment or more.
(5) It is not an offence under subsection (4) merely to solicit, accept or agree to accept the making good of loss or injury caused by an offence or the making of reasonable compensation for that loss or injury.
(6) A prosecution for an offence under subsection (1) is not to be commenced against a person without the approval of the Director of Public Prosecutions in respect of information obtained by an adult in the course of practising or following a profession, calling or vocation prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this subsection.
(7) The regulations may prescribe a profession, calling or vocation as referred to in subsection (6).
(8) The reporting of information by a person in good faith under this section:
(a) does not constitute unprofessional conduct or a breach of professional ethics on the part of the person, and
(b) does not make the person subject to any civil liability in respect of it (including liability for defamation).
(9) In this section:
“child” means a person who is under the age of 18 years.
“child abuse offence” means:
(a) murder or manslaughter of a child (including under section 22A), or
(b) an offence under section 27, 29, 33, 35, 37, 38, 38A, 39, 41, 41A, 44, 45, 45A, 46, 59, 60E, 86 or 91J or Division 10, 10A, 10B or 15 of Part 3 where the alleged victim is a child, or
(c) an offence under section 42, 43, 43A, 91G or 91H, or
(d) an offence under a provision of this Act set out in Column 1 of Schedule 1A where the alleged victim was a child, or
(e) an offence of attempting to commit an offence referred to in paragraphs (a)-(d), or
(f) an offence under a previous enactment that is substantially similar to an offence referred to in paragraphs (a)-(e).
“government school” and
“non-government school” have the same meanings as in the Education Act 1990 .
“member of staff” ,
“school student” have the same meanings as in Division 8B of Part 3.
“obtain” includes receive or become aware of.
Being charged with Concealing Child Abuse Offence can have a detrimental impact on your life, career and your professional reputation.
But by arming yourself with the best possible defence, you can avoid these potential consequences.
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