Presentation on theme: "The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse – Responding to this challenge from a NSW and Victorian perspective Presentation."— Presentation transcript:
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse – Responding to this challenge from a NSW and Victorian perspective Presentation to ACWA Conference 18 August 2014
Background Our Part 3A jurisdiction involves overseeing the handling of child abuse and neglect allegations that are made against employees of more than 7,000 government and non-government agencies.
The Ombudsman oversees how agencies investigate and respond to reportable allegations, and scrutinises the systems which agencies have in place for identifying and responding to this conduct.
Reportable conduct includes: sexual offences and sexual misconduct involving a child physical assault of a child neglect and ill-treatment of a child, and behaviour causing psychological harm to a child
The allegation based system which triggers a notification under Part 3A of the Ombudsman Act complements the WWCC system.
Under section 35 of the Working with Children Act, prescribed reporting bodies are required to notify the Children’s Guardian of findings of misconduct in relation to: 1.Sexual misconduct committed against, with or in the presence of a child, including grooming of a child. 2.Any serious physical assault of a child.
Schedule 1, Clause 2A of the Act, enables the Ombudsman to make a ‘notification of concern’ to the Children’s Guardian if we form the view, as a result of concerns arising from the receipt of information by our office in the course of exercising our functions, that ‘on a risk assessment by the Children’s Guardian, the Children’s Guardian may be satisfied that the person poses a risk to the safety of children’.
Both section 35 referrals and Schedule 1, Clause 2A referrals by our office trigger a ‘risk assessment’ by the Children’s Guardian in relation to whether the involved individuals pose a risk to children.
The need to accept change our initial focus was on strengthening systems, rather than responding to risks associated with individual cases; our limited active engagement with agencies reporting matters to us; insufficient communication and collaboration with Police and other key agencies; insufficient critical analysis in relation to certain highly significant pieces of information;
a lack of clarify as to when issues required escalation to statutory officer level; a restricted definition of ‘sexual misconduct’ which made it difficult, at the time, to find reportable conduct even in cases of significant concern; and insufficient emphasis on the need for alleged victims to be informed about the action or inaction of agencies responding to allegations of sexual abuse.
Implementing change repositioning our strategic focus towards more active monitoring of higher-risk, more serious allegations; increasing the proportion of investigators at a senior level in our Employment Related Child Protection Division; increasing the level of practical support to agencies, particularly in relation to allegations of serious reportable conduct; and structural changes to our Employment Related Child Protection workforce.
Open notification by primary allegation type AllegationTotal Sexual Offence206 Sexual Misconduct348 Physical Assault263 Psych Harm10 Neglect234 Ill –treatment61 Total1122 Current Snapshot
Open notifications with significant features Notifications With:Total Criminal Charges9% (110) Notification of Concerns/ Ch16As to OCG 12% (139) Total21% (249)
Comparison of Notifications between Education and OOHC (closed 2013-2014) Allegation DECOOHC Sexual Offence19.1% (59)6% (28) Sexual Misconduct52.8% (163)14% (63) Physical Assault8.1% (25)45% (205) Psych Harm2.7% (7)0.20% (1) Neglect9.7% (30)26% (122) Ill Treat4% (14)7% (33) Not in Jurisdiction3.6% (11)1.8% (8) Total100% (309)100% (457)
Comparison of Sustained Findings between Education and OOHC Allegation Type DECOOHC Sexual Offence44%21% Sexual Misconduct18%14% Physical Assault9%20%
Identifying the need for systemic change in areas of child practice Improving interagency cooperation to ensure effective management of child sex offenders in the community Improving the handling of historical allegations of child sexual abuse Improving the reporting of allegations of serious criminal child abuse to police Ensuring that the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children takes precedence over an individual's privacy Highlighting the need for law reform in relation to interstate information exchange
Failure to appropriately assess and manage risks to children in OOHC placements where there have been allegations of sexual abuse Multiple CNI profiles leading to individuals not being picked up as having previous offending histories and/or disturbing intelligence reports Data recording deficiencies in Community Services’ KiDS database and related searching practices The need to utilise police intelligence holdings to help protect children The need to improve carer screening/assessments and related risk management processes
Chronic delays in Community Service’s Reportable Conduct Unit Practice weaknesses in the operations of the JIRT (including the Child Abuse Squad)
Contact details Steve Kinmond Deputy Ombudsman, and Disability and Community Services Commissioner NSW Ombudsman Ph: (02) 9286 0987 E: email@example.com@ombo.nsw.gov.au