Australian Capital Territory Current Acts

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Failure by person in authority to protect child or young person from sexual offence

    (1)     A person commits an offence if—

        (a)     the person is a person in authority in a relevant institution (the first person ); and

        (b)     there is a substantial risk that a sexual offence will be committed

              (i)     against a child in the institution's care, supervision or control by a person associated with the institution; or

              (ii)     against a young person in the institution's care, supervision or control by another person in authority in the institution; and

        (c)     the first person is aware that the risk exists; and

        (d)     the first person can, because of the position the person occupies in the institution, reduce or remove the risk; and

        (e)     the first person intentionally or negligently fails to reduce or remove the risk.

Maximum penalty: imprisonment for 5 years.

    (2)     In a prosecution for an offence against this section—

        (a)     it does not matter that an act or omission constituting the sexual offence happens, or is at risk of happening, outside the ACT if—

              (i)     the child or young person was in the ACT at any time the first person was aware that the risk mentioned in subsection (1) (b) existed; or

              (ii)     the person mentioned in subsection (1) (b) (i) or (ii) was a person associated with, or in authority in, a relevant institution in the ACT at any time the first person was aware that the risk existed; and

        (b)     for subsection (1) (c), it does not matter that the first person is aware of the risk mentioned in subsection (1) (b) because of information communicated to the person during a religious confession; and

        (c)     it is not necessary to prove that a sexual offence has been committed.

    (3)     For subsection (1) (e), the first person negligently fails to reduce or remove a risk if that failure involves a great falling short of the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise in the circumstances.

    (4)     The Criminal Code

, chapter 2 (other than the applied provisions) does not apply to an offence against this section.

    (5)     In this section:

"associated"—a person is associated with a relevant institution if the person is an adult who—

        (a)     owns, manages or controls the institution; or

        (b)     is employed or engaged by the institution; or

        (c)     works as a volunteer for the institution; or

        (d)     engages in a regulated activity with or for the institution.

"child" means a person who is under 16 years old.

"relevant institution "means—

        (a)     an entity, other than an individual, that operates facilities for, engages in activities with, or provides services to, children under the entity's care, supervision or control; or

        (b)     a group of entities mentioned in paragraph (a) if the entities—

              (i)     interact with each other, share similar characteristics and collectively have a sense of unity; or

              (ii)     are controlled, managed or governed by another entity.

Examples—par (a)

schools, religious organisations, hospitals, child care centres, out-of-home carers, sports clubs, youth organisations

Examples—par (b)

a group of schools controlled by a religious organisation, a group of youth centres operated by a company, a group of churches sharing the same religious philosophy

"religious confession"—see section 66AA (8).

"sexual offence" means—

        (a)     an offence against—

              (i)     part 3 (Sexual offences); or

              (ii)     any other provision prescribed by regulation; or

        (b)     an offence committed in another jurisdiction that would be an offence under paragraph (a) if committed in the ACT.

"young person" means a person who is 16 years old or older, but not yet an adult.

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