Negative notice breach leads to prosecution of a 48-year-old Mirrabooka man

Media release
A 48-year-old self-employed tutor has been convicted of working in child-related work whilst being subject to a Negative Notice prohibiting him from doing so.
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media release

Mr Ian Norman Watters came to the attention of the Department of Communities as a result of the Working with Children Screening Unit’s proactive compliance program.

An investigation by the Department resulted in proceedings being commenced against Mr Watters for breaching the Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004. 

He was convicted of this offence and subsequently sentenced in the Perth Magistrates Court on 2 June 2023, where he was fined $6,000 and ordered to pay $163.30 in costs.

Despite being issued with a Negative Notice, Mr Watters continued to privately tutor children between the period of 3 June 2021 and 9 October 2021, at his home address in Mirrabooka. Mr Watters also conducted online lessons. 

Mr Watters told a parent that he had a current Working with Children Card, despite having been issued with a Negative Notice in September 2008, prohibiting him from carrying out child-related work.

In sentencing, Magistrate Young commented that it was self-evident that the protective nature of the working with children act required a culture of compliance and that there was no room for casual approaches to the legislation.

Department of Communities Executive Director Regulation and Quality, Phil Payne, said the Working with Children Check is a critical part of keeping children safe.

“A Negative Notice is issued when a person has been assessed to be an unacceptable risk of harm to children. Once a Negative Notice is issued to a person, they must not carry on with child-related work.”

“The community has a right to expect that their children are safe when engaging with any person or organisation providing child-related work.” 

“I encourage parents, guardians and organisations, when engaging a self-employed person to carry out child-related work, especially tutoring, child minding or any one-on-one service, to ask to see their Working with Children Card and check its validity on the Working with Children Check website.”

“If they don’t have one, or they are unable to provide a card to verify that they do, you should consider looking for another provider.” 

Media contact: Chris Abbott – 0466 651 540