Child Protection – Amendments to Working with Children in Queensland & Victoria

Are you a Church worker? Or a Church volunteer? Do you work with children?  Some notable changes to relevant Child Protection legislation in Queensland & Victoria are:

QUEENSLAND – Amendments to the Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld)

The Child Protection Reform Amendment Act 2014 (Qld) amended the Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld) in July 2014 to clarify the reporting obligations when it comes to children.

The new part 1AA provides a clear obligation to report by teachers (and other specific people) concerns when they reasonably suspect a child is in need of protection and when they have no parent willing or able to protect them (section 13E).

Section 13A (Action by persons generally) makes it clear that any person can inform the Chief Executive of the Department of Child Safety, of concerns if they reasonably suspect a child is in need of protection or an unborn child may be in need of protection after he or she is born. This section provides protection (criminally, civilly and ethically) when a person makes the report and is an Absolute Privilege.

VICTORIA – Amendments to the Working with Children Act 2005 (Vic)

On 26 October 2014 the Victorian Government amended the Working with Children Act 2005 (Vic) in various respects.

The act re-defined the definition of ‘child-related work’ to include work undertaken as a minister of religion or as part of the duties of a religious vocation:

  1. at or for a service, body or place, or that involves an activity, specified in subsection (3) (includes a religious organisation s9(3)(i)).
  2. that usually involves direct contact with a child and that contact is not directly supervised by another person.

Where a minister engages in child related work they will be required to undergo a ‘Working With Children Check’ which will screen the Minister’s criminal record history/ professional conduct records. The Working With Children Check is conducted by the Department of Justice and Regulation will be valid for five years unless the check is suspended, revoked or surrendered.

Do you have queries relating to Child Protection policies? Contact us

If you have any questions regarding these changes to the aforementioned legislation and how they may affect you or your Ministry policies regarding Working with Children, please contact one of our Business Development Officers and make an appointment to meet with one of our lawyers today.

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