Changes to ACT Child Protection: Reportable Conduct Scheme and New Grooming Offences

Prior to the conclusion of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission) in December 2017, November was a flurry of regulatory activity in the Australian Capital Territory, with various changes to the Territory’s child protection system proposed and introduced. As other jurisdictions prepare themselves for responding to the Royal Commission’s Final Report, and the extent to which they will be taking the final recommendations into account, the ACT is under the spotlight as we consider the effectiveness of its attempts to pioneer reforms and expand its child protection system.

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Federal report recommends standardising Australia’s fragmented and inconsistent whistleblowing legislation

A new report from the Commonwealth Parliament on Whistleblowing Protections (the Report), recommends that whistleblower protections across public and private sectors should be standardised.  This recommendation affects all government and non-government organisations including schools.  The recommendation also comes after other recent reports which show that the education sector needs to improve its approach to whistleblowing practices and encourage people to speak up about inappropriate or illegal conduct in the workplace.

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Reportable Conduct Round-Up:  Vic and ACT schemes commence, Qld likely to follow

Less than a week ago, substantial amendments to the child protection systems in Victoria and the ACT commenced. From Saturday 1 July, a range of entities – including government and non-government schools – must ensure that they have additional policies and procedures in place for reporting, responding to and investigating various allegations of misconduct in relation to children and young people. Such obligations are in addition to other mandatory reporting and duty of care obligations.  Australia now has three reportable conduct schemes, with the Victorian and ACT schemes joining the established NSW version.

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Report shows 46 NSW teachers dismissed due to misconduct offences

In 2016, 46 NSW teachers faced allegations of misconduct.  Last week, the NSW Department of Education (DET) published the Teacher Conduct and Performance report (the Report).  The Report details the number of government school teachers who have undertaken improvement plans, undergone disciplinary action or have been convicted due to misconduct allegations or criminal offences.   Although the Report was only published recently, it was compiled in December 2016. It is updated annually.

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