More than a dozen paedophiles, rapists and violent sex offenders have won the right to work with children through a series of court challenges.
Successful appeals at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) have resulted in over 12 working with children bans being overturned in just five years.
Those who have won their appeals include a man who was caught by police with a half-naked boy in his car.
More than a dozen paedophiles, rapists and violent sex offenders have won the right to work with children through a series of court challenges (stock image)
A 31-year-old man fondled his partner’s teenage daughter after taking her camping, and a another man, 22, raped a 13-year-old girl, ABC News reported.
A different offender raped a woman after a buck’s party, while another was caught masturbating in public toilets and train stations in front of women and children.
A man who was groomed and abused by one of the paedophiles told the ABC allowing the man to work with children was a huge risk.
‘He shouldn’t be allowed to have a working with children permit, simply because he’s been convicted of paedophilia,’ he said.
‘It’s like putting the kid in the candy store and walking out and all the jars are open.’
Child protection organisation Bravehearts’ founder Hetty Johnson slammed the VCAT decisions, and said paedophiles should never be able to work with children.
‘I just wouldn’t want to risk a child’s whole future on … a hope and a prayer that maybe this person would never do it again,’ she said.
Working with children checks are automatically denied in Victoria for people convicted of crimes such as murder, rape and paedophilia offences.
Those with denied applications can then appeal to VCAT, which has overturned 38 cases in five years, including more than a dozen involving sexual offences.
In a statement to the ABC, VCAT said its role was to apply the law made by the Victorian Government.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has been critical of children checks in the past, describing the system as a failure in 2015.
Martin Pakula, Victoria’s Attorney General, said recommendations from the Royal Commission have led to a strengthening of the application process.
Mr Pakula said the State Government understands the concern in the community, and wants to do everything possible to ensure the safety of children.
* * *