New Technology Protects Children From Potential Predators

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, 30 June 2021

While 79% of parents and carers trust organisations to actively maintain their working with children and similar employee checks, evidence suggests that only a mere 5% of organisations actually are after hiring a new employee, new research from tech-based national verification platform, Oho, has found.

“In reality, we protect our money better than our kids. Credit checks are more thoroughly and actively maintained than working with children’s checks, and similar accreditations. Most organisations still manage employee checks via spreadsheet or even paper,” said Oho Executive Director, Claire Rogers.

Until now, organisations with a duty of care have had to rely on such antiquated methods for managing their accreditations, leaving major opportunities for human error and many vulnerable people exposed. This window of risk typically lasts for 12 months but could be up to 3 years, Oho reports.

Compounding the issue is the fact that organisations do not even recognise their own malpractice: most incorrectly assume they are doing what is required, or do not know their requirements in the first place.

“Too many employers are unaware of their obligations,” said Claire Rogers, Executive Director, Oho.

“Most have substandard systems for administering registration. They check a worker when first employed, and that’s it. Under the Australian Human Rights Commission’s National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, employers must ensure all members of their workforce – including paid staff, contractors and volunteers – are suitable and safe.”

With the onus now on organisations to ensure the safety of its workers and the people it cares for, a proactive approach is required to stop the cycle of abuse from occurring and to prevent organisations from potential fines or jail time.

“All businesses and organisations working with societies most vulnerable should sign up. They’ll receive assurance and sense of comfort that ongoing checks are occurring, and they will be notified as appropriate in a timely manner or red flags,” said Peter Lusk, CEO, Southern Cross Kids Camps.

Oho provides continuous verification, rapid notification of expiry or revocation, enduring proof in an auditable digital record, and proactive compliance reporting – minimising the management time, uncertainty, and risk timeframe for organisations. In fact, 100% of platforms users surveyed say Oho has made their management of accreditation simpler and even captured red flags they may have otherwise missed.

“We used lockdown recently to get on top of accreditations and Oho has become a part of our working week,” said Peter.

Oho is headed up by former World Vision Australia CEO, Claire Rogers, and is growing in popularity among large organisations such as Southern Cross Kid’s Camps, Geelong Grammar School, and Gymnastics Australia. Its patented technology presently covers all states in Australia except ACT, SA, and NT. This ability to protect millions is what started the venture when a sexual abuse survivor and Oho founding team member demanded change.

“Oho keeps watch, every week of every month, every year,” said Executive Director, Claire Rogers. “If a person is deregistered for a charge of abuse or malpractice the employer will know and can act immediately. If even just one person is protected from abuse – then Oho has done its job.”

For more information visit weareoho.com

Media Contact:

Bronwen Lane-Hassett
E: bronwen@ellisjones.com.au
T: +61 413 221 252

Oho:

Oho is a purpose-led Australian venture, established to meet the growing need for continuous monitoring of workers and volunteers who are responsible for vulnerable people. A cloud-based national verification platform continuously monitors and records the registration status of people required to have verified credentials as a condition of their employment.

Oho was born out of experience to protect children, people with disabilities, and others in care vulnerable to poor practice or in the worst case – abuse. With the 2014 Royal Commission into Institution Responses to Child Sexual Abuse bringing horrific cases to light fast forward to 2021 and predators still prevail. In March of this year, an Echuca Scope Disability worker was discovered to have hundreds of child pornographic pictures on their computer whilst still employed and working with the organisation. This is just one example of many who fall through the cracks and highlights the need for ongoing checks of staff and workers. With a current Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, the need for ongoing background checks is further heightened.