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Should religious 'ministers' be forced to report abuse?

The new laws would cover all religious figures, from priests to imams.
The new laws would cover all religious figures, from priests to imams. JAMIE MCKINNELL

MINISTERS of religion will be forced to report child sex abuse to authorities under new laws to come before State Parliament this week.

Independent Member for Cairns Rob Pyne will introduce a Private Member's Bill enshrining mandatory reporting requirements for churches.

The requirement already applies to teachers, nurses and doctors in Queensland, and will apply to childcare workers from July.

It requires those professionals to make a report to the Child Safety Department if they "form a reasonable suspicion that a child has suffered, is suffering or is at an unacceptable risk of suffering significant harm caused by physical or sexual abuse, and may not have a parent able and willing to protect them".

They also should report "reasonable suspicion" that a child is in need of protection caused by any other form of abuse or ­neglect.

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