PIC report on “blind reporting” of child abuse badly misses the mark

The Police Integrity Commission’s report into the practice of “blind reporting” of child abuse by the Catholic Church to the NSW police has failed to call for the end of this damaging practice and failed to even refer to key evidence provided to the PIC where the police admitted to shredding evidence of child abuse. “Blind reporting” is the practice where the Catholic Church removed the identities of victims of child abuse when making reports to the police.

The key Police document evidencing the Police practice of shredding evidence was provided to the PIC by Greens MP David Shoebridge in the week prior to the PIC hearing. It was a Freedom of Information response from the NSW Police that stated in part:

Police Shredding

Despite being provided with this police document the PIC has inexplicably found that:

“There was no evidence before the Commission that Cullen had destroyed any evidence, including any documents provided to her through her membership of the PSRG.”

The full document can be found here.

 Freedom of Information response from the NSW Police that that reveal they routinely shredded documents related to child sexual abuse

Freedom of Information response from the NSW Police that that reveal they routinely shredded documents related to child sexual abuse

Greens MP and Justice spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“It is incomprehensible that the PIC failed to even reference the Police’s own evidence that they shredded documents.

“It is simply wrong for the PIC to find that there was ‘no evidence’ that police destroyed any evidence. I gave them the evidence and that evidence was given to me by the NSW Police.

“The PIC found that the practice of blind reporting meant that avenues for police investigation of child abuse, access to corroborating evidence, and opportunities for victims to speak to police were all lost.

“By accepting the Catholic Church’s practice of blind reporting, police allowed victims to be denied justice and abusers to escape conviction.

“Given this, it is unthinkable that the PIC’s recommendation is only that the Police Force should ’reconsider the practice of blind reporting’. They couldn’t have come out with a weaker response.

“The practice of blind reporting is not only illegal, being in breach of s316 of the Crimes Act which prohibits concealing indictable offences, but it is unethical because it puts the interests of institutions ahead of the interests of children.

“In light of the fundamental flaws in the PIC report it is essential that this damaging practice of blind reporting to the NSW Police be thoroughly investigated by the well-respected Royal Commission into Institutional Child Abuse

“Both the Police Minister and the NSW Police Commissioner must immediately and publicly state the NSW Police will no longer accept any institution censoring its reports of child abuse,” Mr Shoebridge said.

Read the Newcastle Herald’s article here: Former DPP Nicholas Cowdery accuses NSW police of collusion with Catholic Church

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