Working with Vulnerable People Checks

DHCSFacilitator 24 August 2009 12

The ACT Government is seeking community comment on a proposed system of background checking of people working with vulnerable people in the ACT. The ACT Minister for Community Services, Katy Gallagher MLA, released a discussion paper on A Working with Vulnerable People Checking System for the ACT in mid August 2009.

Factsheets and the discussion paper can be obtained at:

For a hardcopy of the discussion paper or to discuss aspects of the proposed checking system, please contact Mathew Munro, Policy Manager, ACT Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services on 6205 8329 or

Interested stakeholders may also participate in an online forum on this topic at:

The closing date for submissions is 12 October 2009.

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12 Responses to Working with Vulnerable People Checks
p1 p1 4:01 pm 25 Aug 09

I am amazed to hear that the ACT doesn’t have an existing system (other then paying to get police checks done). I do recall wondering in the past about going to events in NSW and having to fill out paperwork which didn’t need to be done for events in ACT.

j from the block j from the block 2:55 pm 25 Aug 09

The worst instance I witnessed was someone who had been charged with a child harming offence, trying to get his working with children check through before the charge popped up on the system. (He also knew the state he was in did not do continuous checks, so he would potentially have a good year or three before being found out)Thankfully, the system in place was working faster than he expected.
Again, all praise to those who do the job, and do so without the side effect of deepthroating a gun after witnessing / reading / reporting what these monsters do. I had difficulty continuing without disassociating from work – home, it is a horrible but necessary job.

Granny Granny 12:05 pm 25 Aug 09

Yes, that is the problem, j from the block. They are mostly not caught and less often convicted.

Some years back we had an old man come and visit us who attempted to molest one of our daughters. We just put him on the next bus back to Queensland.

I had been through the legal system once and would never put a child through that again.

I trusted him because he was a friend of a close relative, but it later turned out that he had molested all of his daughters, who were now adult women.

They would have testified against him if we did, because they hoped he had stopped and didn’t want to see any more children hurt, but although my husband and I would have testified I was not willing to expose my little girl to the vituperous assault known as ‘cross-examination’.

He had grown up watching his own father molest his sisters. In the end we just felt that the whole thing was terribly, terribly sad.

j from the block j from the block 10:05 am 25 Aug 09

As an aside from someone who used to work in the area of checks, if anyone wants to suggest continuous checking (as is done in QLD and Vic)there is data to back up the process as viable, and also as one that can pick up unwanted workers. Also very important to note is the checks only pick up things that people are nabbed for. It is an incredibly important job but not one I am in a rush to go back to, although it did give me a greater appreciation for the folks in blue.

GB GB 9:11 am 25 Aug 09

I-filed said :

Having a checking system re vulnerable people is kind of a given. .

It definitely isn’t. At the moment there is no mandatory system in the ACT; and organisations that try to do the right thing only have access to a police check and no other checks – which costs serious money for each and every person. And then costs the next organisation the same when they volunteer there.

And it is not immediately obvious what is the best system to set up; that’s part of why its hard to get agreement across all states.

From the document:

“Under the new Working with Vulnerable People (WWVP) Checking System,
the ACT Government will set minimum and compulsory checking standards
and will apply a consistent risk assessment framework and decision making
process. For the first time in the ACT, employees and volunteers will be able
to move between organisations without being rechecked. The ACT
Government will also meet the cost of background checking, allowing
organisations to direct more of their resources towards their clients. “

This will be a massive improvement. And it will also mean massive change to the way thousands of people work, so consultation is good.

Thumper Thumper 8:54 am 25 Aug 09

BTW, I would have thought some sort of police check would be essential for those in carer roles as such. That it is implied that it’s not is a worry and one would have to wonder why it’s taken so long to do so.

Thumper Thumper 1:16 am 25 Aug 09

Such a caring, understanding and tolerant person.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 9:59 pm 24 Aug 09

Who’s this ‘we’ you speak of, i-filed? I couldn’t give a toss about whether dumb hipsters are upset because they have to pay to watch other, dumber hipsters prance about on stage, or whether or not you can buy tacky allegedly Tibetan crap in the freezing concrete ambience of what may or may not have been a bus shed. I do care, though, about whether those we trust to work with some of our most vulnerable are fit and proper people. But hey, thanks for hijacking this important issue to hitch up your ‘what do you mean I can’t see tits at the same place as last year’ agenda.

I-filed I-filed 9:47 pm 24 Aug 09

I take your point Granny, but it’s very noticeable that the govt is “consulting” on issues where there is a clear-cut, ethical, desirable position and outcome. It’s the “don’t ask a question unless you know the answer” business. I absolutely don’t mean to denigrate this issue – but the modus operandi of a government that has been in a little too long.

Muttsybignuts Muttsybignuts 9:42 pm 24 Aug 09

I haven’t bothered to read it yet so the answer probably lies within, but, what is the difference between a vulnerable Persons check and a good old fashioned police check. Every one of the staff at my work have to have a satisfactory police check before being offered employment.

Granny Granny 8:00 pm 24 Aug 09

No, it’s most certainly not a given. During a presentation on the So Safe program at our special school I heard that somewhere around 70% of people with a disability are sexually abused. It’s something a lot of people do care a lot about, and some of us are very glad to be given the opportunity to comment on this discussion paper.

I-filed I-filed 6:53 pm 24 Aug 09

See? this government is CAPABLE of consulting. HOwever, it doesn’t seem to consult on the matters we care about having a say in. Having a checking system re vulnerable people is kind of a given. Here it’s more of a self-congratulatory “look at us” than a meaningful consultation. Let’s see consulation about, let’s see, stuffing the Fringe Festival. Or building yuppie flats in place of the Old Bus Depot building.

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