In 2018 Section 43B was inserted into the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) creating the offence of Failure to reduce or remove risk of child becoming victim of child abuse. This section applies to adults working or volunteering for an organization which carries out ‘child-related work’.
Who does the law apply to?
This new law applies to all organisations engaging in ‘child-related work’ as defined in the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012. Child-related work is defined very broadly and includes:
If an adult who is a ‘position holder’ for an organization:
An offence has been committed. The maximum penalty for failing to reduce or remove risk of a child becoming a victim of child abuse is 2 years imprisonment. ‘Child abuse offence’ means an offence including murder or manslaughter of a child or infanticide and also includes:
Significantly, for this offence to be proved, it is not a requirement that a child abuse offence has been committed.
A ‘position holder’ is broadly defined and includes employees, contractors, volunteers or otherwise.
What must be proved to be found guilty
This offence contains a number of elements which all must be proved before a person can be found guilty. The elements are:
Unless each of these elements are proved, a person may not be found guilty of the offence.
A critical element in this offence that must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt by the police before an accused person can be found guilty, is that the accused had the required knowledge. ‘Knowledge’ is not defined in the Crimes Act however in the Victorian equivalent of this offence, ‘a person is generally taken to know that there is a risk if he or she is aware that it exists or will exist in the ordinary course of events. This is more than merely holding a tentative belief or suspicion.’
Being found guilty of failing to remove risk of a child becoming a victim of a child abuse offence is extremely serious. If you have been charged with this offence or think you may be charged, you should contact George Sten & Co Criminal Lawyers as soon as possible to speak with a specialist and be informed on your rights and the best steps to take to ensure you are properly defended.
For more information, contact George Sten & Co Criminal Lawyers on on (02) 9261 8640 or 0412 423 569 after business hours. We may also be contacted via email at [email protected].