Employment-related child protection
The ACT has introduced a reportable conduct scheme to oversee how organisations prevent and respond to allegations of child abuse and misconduct. The scheme commenced on 1 July 2017.
Certain employers who work with children are covered by the scheme and will need to report to the ACT Ombudsman. Broadly, ‘reportable conduct’ covers allegations or convictions of child abuse or misconduct toward children.
The reportable conduct scheme does not interfere with reporting obligations to ACT Policing or Child and Youth Protection Services (CYPS). If employers suspect criminal conduct has occurred, they should report to police in the first instance.
ACT Reportable Conduct Scheme includes religious organisations
The ACT Government expanded the Reportable Conduct Scheme on 1 July 2018 to includes religious organisations . For more details please see Division 2.2A of the Ombudsman Act 1989.
The Royal Commission Criminal Justice Legislation Amendment Act 2019 passed the Assembly in March 2019 and includes changes to the scheme. These will start on a date to be determined by the Minister and prior to October 2019. In the meantime, the exemption for religious bodies from reporting information that is disclosed in religious confession to the Ombudsman will continue.
The changes include:
- Religious bodies must nominate a head of entity. Our Office is drafting a form and will write to religious bodies about this.
- The obligation of religious bodies to report to the Ombudsman allegations of reportable conduct made during a religious confession will be limited to allegations that relate to sexual abuse of a child and non-accidental physical injury to a child.
- Clarification that a person is not considered ‘an employee’ of a religious body under the scheme merely because they participate in worship.
The ACT Ombudsman has a supporting role in assisting organisations to meet their obligations under the scheme. We encourage early contact with our Office and invite enquiries from religious organisations about the operation of the scheme.
There are a range of information and practice materials in our Resource Kit.
We offer information sessions about the scheme. These are aimed at leaders and people with governance responsibilities in these organisations. Please contact us to book.
Looking for information about the ACT Reportable Conduct Scheme?
- Information regarding:
- Definitions under the scheme
- Employer responsibilities under the scheme
- Processes under the scheme
- Information sessions
- Fact sheets / Introductions to the scheme
- Practice guides and resources
- Useful links
- Sign up to receive newsletters and updates
- Contact details
If employers suspect criminal conduct has occurred, they should report to police in the first instance