Sue Ellery

Sue Ellery

Minister for Child Protection; Communities; Women's Interests; Seniors and Volunteering

    $1.4million campaign to boost child protection

    29/02/2008 12:00 AM
     

    A $1.4million campaign launched today will further boost the success of the State Government’s Working with Children Checks scheme, which has so far banned 35 people from working with children because of offences ranging from threatening behaviour to sexual assault.

     

    Child Protection Minister Sue Ellery said the campaign would remind people in occupations which put them in contact with children that they were required to be screened under the country’s most rigorous criminal checking system.

     

    “The Working with Children Checks scheme is already proving highly effective in stopping people who are considered a risk to children from entering into, or continuing to work in, occupations where they have interaction with children,” Ms Ellery said.

     

    “The 35 people who have been banned are among about 95,000 people in child-related occupations who have been screened for criminal charges or convictions since the Working with Children Check legislation was introduced in 2006.

     

    “This campaign, which begins today with television advertising, will ensure that even more people in child-related work will apply for a Working with Children Check card and it will remind parents that they have the right to ask to see a card.”

     

    The Minister said the department had issued negative notices to 14 volunteers, 14 paid employees and seven self-employed people in, or seeking to work in, occupations ranging from dance teacher to hospital orderly.

     

    Their offences included sexual assault, possession of child pornography, indecent assault, violence and threatening behaviour, and were not necessarily only against children.

     

    Ms Ellery said to give maximum protection to children, the legislation allowed for the department to also ban people who had been charged with child-related offences but not convicted.

     

    “A landmark decision by the Supreme Court last month to uphold the Department for Child Protection’s ban of a t-ball coach because of non-conviction charges of indecently dealing with a child is testament to the power of this legislation,” she said.

     

    The television advertisements focus on a variety of occupations, including swimming instructor, party clown and library storyteller, and aim to remind people that unless they have a Working with Children Card, they are prohibited from working in child-related areas.

     

    People who do not comply with the law could face up to five years in prison and a $60,000 fine.

     

    The advertisements will run throughout March and April, complementing radio and newspaper advertising and a new Working with Children Checks website: http://www.checkwwc.wa.gov.au

     

    Ms Ellery said the checks were being phased in over a five-year period, after which only people who were new to child-related work would need to apply.

     

    “The Carpenter Government is committed to protecting and upholding the rights of children, the most vulnerable members of our community, and this campaign will help ensure this happens,” she said.

     

    Minister's office  - 9213 7150