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Risk assessment

What records trigger a risk assessment?

A risk assessment is an evaluation of a person's suitability for child-related work, conducted by the Office of the Children's Guardian. Assessment triggers include:

  • records listed in Schedule 1 of the Child Protection (Working With Children) Act 2012 (equivalent records from other states and territories are also assessment triggers)
  • findings of misconduct by a reporting body and notifications made by the NSW Ombudsman
  • a pattern of behaviour which raises concern.

For more information, see FACT SHEET: Assessment requirement triggers - Schedule 1. (PDF 188.7KB) A pattern of behaviour will trigger an assessment when a series of records (not necessarily listed in Schedule 1) are indicators of risk to children.

Findings of misconduct by a reporting body (including sexual misconduct and serious physical assault of a child) and notifications made by the Ombudsman will also trigger a risk assessment. For full details, see FACT SHEET: Information for reporting bodies. (PDF 141.7KB)

How is risk assessed? 

Section 15 of the Child Protection (Working With Children) Act 2012 sets out what must be considered when assessing risk. These are:

Factors relating to conduct

  • seriousness (as demonstrated details of the conduct, court outcome and penalty)
  • how long since it occurred
  • age and vulnerability of the victims
  • relationship between offender and victim(s)
  • age difference between offender and victim(s)
  • whether the offender knew or could have known the victim(s) was under 18

Factors relating to the applicant

  • conduct since the offence
  • age at the time
  • current age
  • seriousness of total criminal and misconduct record 
  • any current orders

Factors relating to recurrence

  • likelihood of the offences being repeated
  • impact of the offences being repeated.

The Office of the Children's Guardian also takes into consideration any information given in relation to the application and any other matters that the Office of the Children's Guardian considers necessary. See FACT SHEET: Risk assessment. (PDF 185.1KB)

How long does it take?

The risk assessment process is often complex and assessments can take varying lengths of time to complete. We rely on external agencies such as NSW local and district courts, Corrective Services NSW and the Department of Family and Community Services to provide information to inform the assessment process.

This process can take more than 12 months, depending on how a Working With Children Check application is prioritised by us and the nature and location of records involved.

We also take into consideration any information provided by you and any other matters that the Children’s Guardian considers necessary. This information is considered in the context of the information obtained from external agencies. See FACT SHEET: Risk assessment. (PDF 185.1KB)