A Perth man has been prosecuted for carrying out child-related work while holding a Negative Notice under the Working with Children Act.
A Department of Communities investigation found that on 14 August 2020, Dewald Venter was carrying out a child-related business at a time that he held a current Negative Notice.
A Negative Notice prohibits a person from being employed in child-related work or carrying out child-related business. Mr Venter was issued a Negative Notice that was current during the time he worked as a support worker for two children in Perth’s northern suburbs.
The Department of Communities investigation found that Mr Venter had breached the Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004 and prosecution action was taken.
The Perth Magistrates Court last week found Mr Venter guilty and imposed a fine of $1,000 and $630.50 costs.
Department of Communities Deputy Director General Catherine Stoddart said the outcome should serve as a warning to all Western Australians who are engaged in child-related work.
“The safety of children is always the over-riding consideration when determining the issue of a Negative Notice,” Ms Stoddart said.
“The community has the right and expectation that their children are safe when they are entrusted into the care of others.
“Organisations, businesses and community groups must ensure that all their staff who are engaged in child-related employment, paid or voluntary, have a current and valid Working with Children Card.
“This requirement also applies to self-employed persons who operate their own business in child-related work.
“Employers have a responsibility for how their organisation is run and it is imperative that robust procedures are in place to ensure the safety of children.
“If a person’s card has expired, or they have a Negative Notice issued, they cannot be employed or continue in child-related work.
“I would also encourage parents seeking to engage a self-employed person in child-related work to make sure that they have a valid and current Working with Children Card.
“The Department of Communities takes any breaches of this legislation very seriously and prosecution action is taken.”
Further information about Working with Children Checks and applicant and employer obligations is available on the Working with Children website www.workingwithchildren.wa.gov.au.
Media contact: Steve Worner 0418 918 299