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Making NSW safer for children and young people

22 October 2018

New figures released today from the Office of the Children’s Guardian highlight the significant progress being made to make organisations safer for more than 1.6 million children and young people living in NSW.

The figures are contained in the 2017–18 Annual Report of the Office of the Children’s Guardian, (PDF 4.9MB) which was tabled in NSW Parliament today. The report’s release also coincides with the National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse.

“Children and young people engage with a range of adults and organisations every day and the community has a reasonable expectation that they will be kept safe,” Ms Schorer said.

“However as history and the Royal Commission demonstrate the community needs to remain vigilant if we don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past and we all have a role to play in keeping children safe.

“Our regulatory, monitoring, compliance, training and education programs target organisations to better identify and manage their potential environmental risks to the children they are involved with.”

Highlights of the Office of the Children’s Guardian Annual Report 2017-18 include:

  • 768 people from paid or voluntary child related roles have been refused a Working With Children Check clearance
  • Over 3,600 compliance audits have been conducted on child related employers
  • The NSW Carers Register has increased to more than 20,000 authorised carers
  • Nearly 1,300 potential carers have been blocked or de-authorised since the register was established
  • 604 children and young people living in temporary emergency accommodation or residential care had their records reviewed
  • Almost 100 employers who engage children in the entertainment industry received a visit from the OCG, including 31 visits to high risk employment locations.

Ms Schorer said the Office of the Children’s Guardian will continue to lead the state in helping organisations to build child safe cultures and environments that don’t just rely on a Working With Children Check as their main child protection approach.

“More than 1,664,000 adults now have a Working With Children Check clearance, with all sectors phased in to the online system,” Ms Schorer said.

“But in the last 12 months nearly 3,870 new events emerged from our continuous monitoring of people with a Working With Children Check clearance which triggers us to re-assess the risk these people present to children.”

“While this demonstrates the strength of the Working With Children Check this is the highest figure in the system’s five years of operation.

“It reinforces that organisations need to be focused on prevention, by managing their environmental risks to reduce the possibility of opportunistic offending by workers who may have been previously cleared to work with children.”

Enquiries: kidsmedia@kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au