Safety screen: Worker Tests to Protect Children

Childcare workers, school bus drivers, teachers and ministers of religion will be screened for child sex convictions under new laws to come into effect next month. All people working with children including scout leaders, private tutors and sports coaches who have direct access to children will have to make a legal declaration that they have no child-related convictions.

All preferred applicants for jobs that involve working with children will be screened for child abuse, child pornography, sexual activity or indecent acts. All other paid employees and volunteers in childcare jobs including amusement arcade workers, nurses and doctors in children’s wards and hospitals, scout and guide leaders, ministers of religion and sporting coaches will be screened.

In an Australian first, all new preferred applicants for jobs with children will also be checked for Apprehended Violence Orders involving children and completed disciplinary matters relating to children. The new laws, among the toughest in the world, will apply to anyone in unsupervised contact with children in both the public and private sectors and volunteer organizations.

Employers will also be able to do “spot checks” on employees to ensure children in their care are not at risk. If someone is declared a “Prohibited Person”, their name is registered with the Commission for Children and Young People and they will be banned from any child-related employment