Despite the Police Integrity Commission, the former DPP and now the Ombudsman declaring the practice illegal, the NSW police Minister has declared the government’s support for the practice of blind reporting of child sexual abuse. Blind reporting is where agencies or institutions who receive reports or allegations of child sexual abuse remove the victims name and other identifying material from their report to police.
The practice has been found to be in breach of s316 of the Crimes Act by both the PIC and the Ombudsman. That section requires anyone in receipt of information about a serious indictable offence to give ALL relevant information to the police. The full statement by the police Minister, which was provided in answer to a question in the NSW Parliament by Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge, is found below. Reporting in the Newcastle Herald is here.
Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“This is the NSW Police actively promoting blind reporting despite the fact the Police Integrity Commission, the former DPP and the Ombudsman have told them it is illegal.
“It is a practice that fails victims while protecting institutions.
“Police are there to enforce the law, not reinterpret it to suit their wishes.
“How can the police Minister say there is general agreement among justice agencies that blind reporting is positive for law enforcement when the PIC, the former DPP and the Ombudsman have publicly stated the practice is illegal?
“When institutions have evidence of a serious indictable offence, whether sexual abuse or not, the law says they must provide all relevant information to the police.
“In cases of child sexual abuse the name of the victim is essential for a police prosecution and blind reporting deletes that in breach of the criminal law.
“This is not just a historical problem.
“It is clear the police are actively promoting fresh arrangements with non-government institutions to embed this unethical and illegal practice into the future,” Mr Shoebridge said.
The NSW Ombudsman’s response to Experiences of police and prosecution responses to institutional child sexual abuse is available here, with specific mention of blind reporting from page 9.