Cardinal Pell appeals convictions

On 5 June 2019 at the Victoria State Court of Appeal, Cardinal Pell’s legal team launched an application for leave to appeal his conviction on one charge of sexually penetrating a child under 16, and four counts of committing an indecent act on a child under 16 in a Melbourne cathedral more than 20 years ago. The Court is also hearing the appeal against the conviction at the same time.

Cardinal Pell was sentenced to six years in prison, which he is currently serving in a Melbourne prison and it is reported that he is being held in special protective custody because due to the nature of his convictions he is regarded as being at higher risk of harm from other prisoners.

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Australia – Institutions that have not yet joined the Scheme

In establishing the National Redress Scheme the Australian Government was very clear that it expected every institution in which sexual abuse of children occurred to be accountable for that abuse and to join the Scheme and provide redress.

In fact the Australian Department of Social Services has a dedicated team who contacts Institutions that may have responsibility for abuse, strongly encourages them to join the Scheme, and provides information about how to do so.

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Scottish update

This week, the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) has announced that on 21 and 23 January 2019 it will hear evidence, via video link from Australia, of witnesses whose evidence is relevant to the child migrant case study. Prior to migration, the witnesses were children in care in residential care establishments run by religious organisations.

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‘Up-skirting’ to be made a criminal offence

In September 2017 we reported on the issue of ‘up-skirting’ – the practice of taking a picture up the skirt or dress of a woman or girl in public, sometimes as part of a programme of harassment by the person taking the picture,  often occurring without the victim ever being aware. The photos are then often circulated to others invading the privacy of, distressing and humiliating whomever is in the picture.  At the time it was noted that this was an example of where the law had not caught up with the misuse of technology.  However, today the government has indicated that it will support a private members bill – the Voyeurism (Offences) Bill 2018 – to make the practice a criminal offence in England and Wales.  The Bill will have its second reading in the House of Commons on 15 June 2018 and it is understood to have cross party support.   Continue reading

Australia to ban convicted paedophiles from travelling abroad

Australia punishes people who abuse children overseas with up to 25 years imprisonment.  Despite this, some Australian paedophiles are known to take inexpensive holidays to South East Asian and Pacific island countries to abuse children. In response, Australia is going to introduce new laws to tackle child sex tourism in what has been described as a “world first”.  The Government has said the new rules, which includes the cancellation of passports, will ensure child sex offenders cannot travel “to vulnerable countries where they are out of sight and reach of Australian law”.

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The Royal Commission – Australia’s Inquiry – an update

As Australia is the news through the IICSA child migrant investigation, the work being undertaken by the Royal Commission (RC) in considering issues relating to abuse across many different organisations in Australia should not be forgotten. We summarise below its most recent work, much of which is of relevance irrespective of the jurisdiction in which an organisation finds itself.

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Lessons from reports

As the Henriques report in to the Metropolitan Police and Operation Midland is due for publication later today (or at least its recommendations and conclusions are) it highlights the challenges which arise when a report has been prepared. What should be published? When should it be published? Most crucially how should its recommendations be implemented? Lessons can be learned from Scotland and Australia about the importance of ensuring speedy and clear implementation of recommendations.

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