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Priests, Penitents, Confidentiality and Child Sexual Abuse

In the light of Prime Minister Gillard’s announcement of a Royal Commission into institutional responses to the sexual abuse of children there has been a particular focus on the role of the ‘confessional seal’. The Roman Catholic practice whereby communications made in the confessional are treated as absolutely confidential has been hotly debated, in particular whether this doctrine forms an inappropriate impediment to the appropriate investigation and treatment of cases of abuse.The issue of evidence of child sexual abuse within the confessional seal arises in three different contexts: mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse, evidence to be given in legal proceedings, and evidence befo... Read more...

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