Kevin Minson

Kevin Minson


    Move to prevent sex offenders working in DSC

    25/08/1996 12:00 AM



    Disability Services Minister Kevin Minson has moved to prevent anyone with a history of sex offences working in the Disability Services Commission or associated agencies.


    The move came after it was recently revealed that a Perth man who had been convicted overseas for child abuse had been working with an organisation involved with people with disabilities.


    Mr Minson and DSC chief executive officer Haydn Lowe met with Acting Commissioner Bill Mott and Department of Immigration personnel to broaden the commission's ability to check criminal histories.


    Mr Minson said the commission would adopt a checking system similar to that used by the Department of Family and Childrens' Services.


    "While the commission already carries out police checks on direct care staff, it will now carry out checks on all new staff," he said.


    "Currently, non-Government agencies receiving Government funds are also required to check direct care staff.


    "It is an unfortunate fact of life that sex offenders of all types can gravitate to careers or jobs which allow them access to their preferred victims.


    "People with disabilities, particularly children with disabilities, are some of society's most vulnerable and there is a duty of care to ensure their safety.


    "I believe this duty of care supersedes any perceived invasion of privacy.


    If the knowledge that they will be subject to police checks deters sex offenders from applying for jobs in the area of disability services, it is well worth while setting up this system.


    "Prior to implementing the new system we were not able to check people's backgrounds at a national level.


    "We will now be using the National Exchange of Police Information (NEPI) to carry out national checks."


    Mr Minson said setting up a network to carry out overseas checks would take a while longer.


    The Minister said he had joined his Community Services Ministerial colleagues across Australia to develop lines of access to international criminal records of Australian residents who had offended oversea,s as well as those of recent immigrants seeking employment.


    A review was currently under way by the Protection and Care of Children sub-committee, which had been established by Community Services Ministers to set up a national system to screen people employed in paid or voluntary work with children.


    Media contact: Caroline Lacy 222 9211