Concealing a child abuse offence is a crime under section 316A(1) of the Crimes Act 1900, which carries a maximum penalty of:
2 years in prison where the maximum penalty for the offence concealed was less than 5 years, or 5 years in prison where the maximum penalty for the offence concealed was more than 5 years.
To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:
The definition of ‘child abuse offence’ covers a wide range of crimes against persons under 18, including:
‘Information.. [of] material assistance’ is not defined by the Act, and is a matter of fact to be determined by the court.
You had a ‘reasonable excuse’ for not reporting the information to police if:
The incident reporting unit in the case of a government school, or the principal or governing body in the case of a non-government school. The reporting of information referred to in the section does not constitute unprofessional conduct or a breach of professional ethics, nor does it render you the subject of civil liability such as liability for defamation provided your reporting was in good faith.
A prosecution for the offence cannot be commenced without the DPP’s approval if the information was obtained through prescribed professions, callings or vocations, such as in the course of medical practice, legal practice or the practice of religion.
Defences to the charge include:
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