AUSTRALIA'S Catholic bishops say there should be a mandatory reporting regime for priests just like there is for doctors and nurses.Submissions on the terms of reference for the national royal commission into child sex abuse are due today.
The Catholic Church lodged its submission on Friday in which it welcomed the commission and insisted the foremost consideration in determining arrangements "must be the interests of victims/survivors and their wellbeing".
The president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart, said the commission would enable the church and community to put in place regimes that really cared for children and avoid "these awful events of which we've heard more recently".
"There should be a mandatory reporting regime for priests just like there is for doctors, nurses and social workers," he told ABC Radio.
When priests become aware of abuse they should report it to a statutory authority, he added.
"We are wanting to act to the very best standards."
In its submission, the bishops say the commission should carefully assess all of the issues preventing abuse being effectively dealt with, including failures of "non-reporting and "non-response".
It states the commission should inquire into "a national framework for law requiring reporting of crime, mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse, legal privilege afforded to various professions and vicarious liability for intentional acts".