PARENTS, EMPLOYERS CAN NOW SCREEN INDIVIDUALS FOR SEXUAL OFFENCES ON CHILDREN
MARCH 26, 2019 @9 PM
Beginning April 1, parents and employers in child-related industries may go to any Department of Social Welfare (JKM) state or district office to apply for a screening to be conducted on any individual working with children.
An application for screening made at any JKM state office will produce instant results, while an application made at the district offices will take up to five working days. The applicant only needs to register their details and fill-in the concerned individual’s Identification Card number to apply for a screening.
Hannah Yeoh, Deputy Minister Women, Community and Family Development explained that if the individual has no record of sexual crimes against a child, a letter stating “no record” will be printed on the spot.
"If the individual has a record of sexual crimes against a child, a letter stating that “further checks by JKM are required” will be printed. JKM authorities will then take steps to ensure that no appeals are outstanding in the courts for that case," she said at the launch of the Sexual Offenders against Children Check within the Child Registry at the ministry's complex in Putrajaya.
This comes into effect as ‘The Child Registry under the Child Act 2001’ has been updated to include records of persons convicted of sexual offences against children under the Sexual Offenders against Children (SOAC) Act 2017. This screening system will effectively prevent individuals convicted under the SOAC Act 2017, which came into effect on July 10, 2017, from working with children. At this time, there are 3,000 cases in the database of convictions under the SOAC Act recorded from 10 July 2017 to 28 February 2019.
This is the first phase of the ministry’s efforts to make institutions and organisations safer for children. As a long term initiative, a comprehensive Working with Children Check (WCC) is being designed that will include other criminal records in its database, such as drug and violent offences.
"This proposed screening mechanism will place the onus on the individual seeking child-related work to apply for a WCC clearance before engaging in any child-related work. Moving forward, the Ministry will look into legislative amendments that will make it mandatory for any individual engaging in child-related work to obtain a WCC clearance, and non-compliance may constitute a federal offence, she added further.
However, The Sexual Offenders against Children Check will not include juvenile criminal records (offenders under the age of 18), in accordance with international standards of juvenile protection as well as Section 91 (3) of the Child Act 2001.
At this stage, it will be the responsibility of parents and employers in child-related work to make use of the Sexual Offenders against Children Check to keep places such as childcare centres, kindergartens, schools, tuition centres, religious institutions, recreational centres, and even transportation, safe for children.
Hannah later emphasised that the search results must be kept confidential and only used to keep children safe.
"If the search produces no record, it does not necessarily mean that there is no risk of harm to the child. It is important to take additional protection measures and remember that sexual predators who have not been convicted can still pose a risk of harm to children."
The screening only safeguards children against the risks of repeat sexual offenders.
Astrazeneca signs MoA with InvestKL to improve access to healthcare, explore digital transformation in the management of diseases
Arson, animal cruelty and lack of remorse - traits of personality disorders to look out for in a person