The Office of the Children’s Guardian has recently been given new powers that strengthen its ability to deal with employers in the entertainment and performing arts industry in NSW who may not be providing safe environments for children.
One important change includes new powers to enter and inspect premises (other than a dwelling) if the Office of the children’s Guardian officer suspects a person is employing a child in breach of the children’s employment legal requirements.
The laws affect the employment of children and young people undertaking paid work in the film, television, entertainment, still photography and modelling industries. The ‘employment’ also covers payment to a parent or organisation for the child’s services, as well as money or material benefits such as royalties, deferred payment, vouchers, gifts, gift cards, coupons or show bags.
NSW Children’s Guardian Kerryn Boland said the laws aimed to better protect the safety, health and well-being of children employed in the entertainment and performance related sectors. Under the law the employer of a child is required to:
- hold a valid Authority to employ children in NSW covering the dates of the child’s employment
- notify the Office of the Children’s Guardian of their intention to employ the child before the employment occurs
- follow the Code of Practice
- have a Child Safe Code of Conduct in place.
Employers in these sectors also need to provide information to parents about the requirements and risks of the child’s role and a copy of their Child Safe Code of Conduct.
“Children working in the entertainment industries make an important contribution to the creative arts and in turn they benefit from their involvement in the industry,” Ms Boland said.
“Employers, agents and parents have shared legal and moral responsibilities to ensure children’s employment in this sector is a safe, appropriate and positive experience.
“Young people and their parents may not want to jeopardise their potential future job opportunities and careers but as we have seen from a number of high profile cases, but this can make them vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.
“We are encouraging those working in these industries to contact us if they have any concerns by contacting the OCG on (02) 8219 3600 and asking to speak to the Children’s Employment team.”
Ms Boland said any reports could also be made anonymously online at: www.kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au/working-with-children/childrens-employment/contact-childrens-employment-team/childrens-employment-report-a-concern
8 November 2016