Child checks for all religious leaders, inquiry recommends

By Rick Morton
August 17, 2015

Every religious leader in the country and their officers would be required to undergo working with children checks under proposed sweeping reforms to the system recommended by the child abuse royal commission.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse authored a report on state and territory working with children checks which was tabled in parliament today.

“A person must apply for a Working With Children Check (WWCC) in each state or territory in which they intend to engage in child-related work,” the report says.

“Organisations and people working across borders report substantial challenges in working with the varied schemes, including extra costs and difficulty understanding and complying with the various laws.

“These problems are not new and have been recognised by governments for some time. We believe that the absence of any action to fix these problems is a significant and inexcusable failure on the part of governments — these problems cannot continue to be ignored.”

In the next 12 to 18 months the commission expects state and territory governments to adopt uniform WWCC standards which would be portable across jurisdictions and which would remove myriad “conditions”.

Instead of having conditions the report proposes a two-speed approval only: either people are granted working approval or they are not.

Also, some people convicted of serious offences against children — like murder, sexual abuse or child pornography offences — would lose the right to any appeal against a refusal to grant access to children.


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