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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 9 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 2781 ..


Debate resumed from 27 June 1996, on motion by Mr Humphries:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Sitting suspended from 12.28 to 2.30 pm


Child Abuse - Mandatory Reporting

MR WHITECROSS: Mr Speaker, my question without notice is to Mr Stefaniak as Minister for Children's and Youth Services. Minister, what additional funds and resources, apart from training mandated persons, is the Government going to make available for following up and investigating reports of child abuse when mandatory reporting comes into law next year?

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I thank the member for the question. The Government, as part of its mandatory reporting of child abuse strategy, is adopting a staged approach so that we can assess exactly how much will be needed for that system to be implemented correctly. That is crucially important because experience in other States has shown that the incidence of reporting of child abuse increases quite considerably after the training has been put in place. We are about to complete training in the Belconnen and Gungahlin areas before we move on to Tuggeranong in September.

As for how much it is going to cost, the Government cannot state in exact terms what additional funds we will put in. Because we are doing the training in four separate areas, we will be able to assess the impact of increased reporting of abuses as a result. Members should bear in mind that the ACT, with its current voluntary system of reporting, has an incidence of reporting about the same as a lot of the States where, in fact, it already is mandated. That is, I think, a very commendable thing in terms of the ACT community.

Mrs Carnell: So it might not be any.

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