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Cross border checks protect more children

Monday 15 August 2016

A major increase in the exchange of information between federal and state agencies and the continuous checking of new records has resulted in thousands of high risk adults being prevented from working with children, the NSW Minister for Family and Community Services Brad Hazzard said today.

“Child protection in NSW has significantly improved as a result of a stronger and more robust Working With Children Check system,” Mr Hazzard said.

“The exchange of important information between the Office of the Children’s Guardian and other federal and state agencies and the community who are working to keep children safe has been particularly critical to this process.

“This information relates to criminal and predatory behaviours such as online grooming and child exploitation material, monitoring offenders on state and national child protection registers, new criminal charges and other concerning records.”

Key Working With Children Check statistics reveal that since the start of the new system in June 2013:

  • nearly 2,000 people have been barred from working with children in NSW.
  • more than 700 people were barred from working with children after a continuous check event (a new police charge or a workplace record) was received by the Office of the Children’s Guardian.
  • of those 700, over 500 had previously had a clearance.
  • under the old system there was no continuous checking for new criminal charges and an employer could still engage a person who had been subject to an unfavourable risk assessment. Changes to the system in 2013 removed employer discretion and the risk of unsuitable people being authorised to work with children.

The Office of the Children’s Guardian collaborates and exchanges information with the Australian Federal Police, the NSW Police Sex Crimes Squad, FACS, Health, Education, the NSW Ombudsman, Corrective Services, interstate Working With Children Check agencies and child-related employers. It also conducts an extensive auditing, compliance and child safe program.
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“These results demonstrate that effective inter-agency cooperation and continued vigilance is having a substantial impact on helping to prevent potential offenders from accessing and working with children,” Mr Hazzard said.