Abuse reported against sex victim's wishes

A representative of the Australian Lawyers Alliance says police should be told of sexual abuse even if the victim doesn't want to prosecute.

Disclosures of sexual abuse should be passed on to police even against victims' wishes, a royal commission has heard.

Australian Lawyers Alliance barrister Dr Andrew Morrison SC says he accepts mandatory reporting may deter some people but that the "alternative is simply not ultimately acceptable".

"Whilst it is stressful and traumatic for victims, the damage done to other potential victims is far more serious," he said at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Thursday.

"The community interest and protection requires that that information be passed on in a form in which action can be usefully taken by police."

Dr Morrison says warnings that disclosures must be taken to police would ideally be given to victims before they came forward.

But people told about the abuse would be required to go to police even if they had not given a warning, he said.

Dr Morrison said the obligation to report should be broad, with prosecution exceptions for psychological, cultural and community reasons.

"So the big picture position that your organisation has is that the obligation to report sexual assault should be pretty much across the community, with some limited exceptions?" Counsel assisting David Barrow asked.

"Yes," Dr Morrison said.

The royal commission hearing into criminal justice issues continues.

Source AAP

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