Working with vulnerable people checks

Public consultation has begun on new laws requiring background checks for people seeking to work with children and other vulnerable Tasmanians.

The draft Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Bill 2013 is open for  public consultation until Friday 11 October 2013.

The draft Bill provides for the establishment of a centralised screening process.

The new process will enable a screening unit in the Department of Justice to undertake detailed risk assessment and to seek information from other jurisdictions.

The reform aims to provide for a more consistent, rigorous and reliable background checking system.

After a successful background check, people will be registered and given photo ID allowing them to work with children and vulnerable people for a period of three years before the card must be renewed.

There are also strong privacy provisions to ensure sensitive personal information isn't passed on or misused.

A total of $900,000 was committed in this year's State Budget to establish a centralised screening unit.

Tasmania and the A.C.T. are the only two jurisdictions to incorporate other vulnerable people in their coordinated checking systems, as well as children.

The draft Bill proposes a staged approach:

  • One – a more comprehensive background checking and risk assessment process for people working with children, either as employees or volunteers.
  • Two – an expanded process to include working with vulnerable people such as the elderly, people with disabilities, people with mental illness as well as migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

Community forums will be held in each region towards the end of September.

The draft reforms have been a collaborative effort between the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Education, and Tasmania Police.

Groups and individuals can send submissions to:

Community Consultation

Office for Children

PO Box 125, Hobart, TAS, 7001

More information and fact sheets are available at www.children.tas.gov.au