Following the death of 11-year-old Luke Batty in Victoria last month, the Victorian Parliament has introduced new penalties for failing to report child abuse to Police, including for victims of domestic violence.
Luke’s mother, Rosie Batty, has criticised the new penalties, stating that “women trapped in abusive relationships are not always able to report abuse”.
About her son Luke Batty’s death, she said “Greg had finally lost control of me and the final act of control, which was the most hideous form of violence, was to kill my son”.
Family violence victim groups agree, fearing that the new penalties which carry a maximum penalty of three (3) years imprisonment, could see women trapped in abusive relationships unfairly gaoled.
Victorian Attorney-General, Robert Clark, said the law means people have a duty to report known cases of child abuse and “make clear that people who know or believe that a child has been sexually abused cannot just keep quiet about it”. It will not be an offence if a person does not report because of “reasonable fears for their or another person’s safety and it is reasonable not to report in the circumstances”.
Rosie Batty maintains that the new penalties will fail to address the real issue, stating “I am absolutely outraged. I was living in hope that… Luke’s tragic death would bring a huge awareness to family violence. This is beyond my comprehension how, again, the woman who is the victim is punished”.