WA toughens child worker checks

News, Crime

Tougher laws to better protect children and minors from predators in Western Australia have passed through parliament.

Updated procedures for the Working with Children Check will make it harder for people with criminal offences to get clearance.

Any employee, volunteer or organisation who breaches their obligations will face fines of up to $60,000 and five years' jail.

The Working with Children Check is a screening process for people undertaking paid or unpaid child-related work.

The changes mean any adult convicted of a sexual or violent offence against children will automatically be flagged in the system and unable to work with minors.

Any adult facing charges of the same nature, including offences that involve the intent to kill or cause life-threatening harm against children, will also be banned.

Persistent family violence offences, including suffocation and strangulation will also result in an automatic Negative Notice, which prohibits anyone from carrying out child-related work.

It forms part of long-term reform to address key recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

“Working with Children Checks are a vital screening tool to protect young people from potential predators, and that's why it's so important we strengthen and modernise these laws,” Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk said.

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