In November 2016, new laws were passed to strengthen background checks for people wanting to work or volunteer with children and young people. These changes have not yet started.
The Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016 will ensure that a person who is assessed as being of high risk to the safety of children will be prohibited from working or volunteering with them, and that it is an offence to allow this to occur.
The Act lays the groundwork, but most of the finer detail will be contained in regulations, rather than in the Act itself. These regulations are being drafted at the moment, and community input will be sought on some elements.
- Who requires a working with children check?
eg toy shop staff, sports coaches, school volunteers?
- Who should be exempt from requiring a check?
About the Act
The Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016 provides for a more consistent, efficient and transparent system in line with recommendations from the Child Protection Systems Royal Commission.
The new system will eliminate the current two-tiered arrangement, whereby some organisations relied on a National Criminal History Check instead of a check undertaken through the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion’s Screening Unit.
Under the new system checks will be:
- valid for a period of five years
- transferable between different jobs or volunteer positions
- continuously monitored as new information – such as a new criminal conviction – becomes available
- undertaken through a single, centralised assessment unit responsible for all working with children checks on individuals.