Vulnerable people, in the context of this article, include children, any adult that is incapable of looking after or protecting themselves from harm or exploitation on account of age, illness, trauma, disability or a similar reason. The very fact that these people are vulnerable warrants extensive background checks into the history of the individuals that are put in charge of taking care of said people.
The Australian government put in place a piece of legislation in 2011 requiring workers and caretakers of vulnerable people that makes it mandatory for them to register for a national police record check. This is so that employers can ensure that the workers who would be working closely with children, people with disabilities and senior citizens are eligible for every facet of the job.
Most people want to work with the vulnerable because they have compassion and want to help them in their everyday struggles, but it is the job of the employer that families and loved ones of the vulnerable being taken care of can rest assured that their beloved family members are getting the best care and treatment possible. When you apply for a police record check and receive police check clearance, not only does it validate your role as a competent and capable caretaker, it also goes a long way to build trust between you and the person being cared for by family members.
The Department of Social Services requires that the police check is conducted before the caretaker begins engaging with vulnerable people. Employers must also require this of their staff before deploying them to their respective care recipients. It is your duty as the employer to confirm that a caretaker or worker is not prohibited under significant laws from undertaking their duties.
Child-Related Background Checks
Because children are perhaps the most vulnerable as they can be easily misled and harmed, most childcare organizations place great emphasis on ensuring that their employees and volunteers who will be working closely with children are screened to provide a child-safe environment. This often involves the organization conducting their own criminal history assessments for their employees such as making sure no employee or potential employee comes up on the sex offender registry. In some Australian states and territories, a working with children check is mandatory.
Disability Services Background Checks
Disabled people face many different struggles in their daily lives, so the people put in charge to take care of them should always be professionals in what they do. The people that work for disabled people must be screened thoroughly as part of every such organization’s risk management policies and to ensure the well-being of people being cared for. The screening for the disability sector is valid for 3 years and transferable across services under the Disability Services Act.
Senior Citizen Care Background Checks
Senior citizens are another vulnerable group of people that can be easily targeted by anyone who means them harm. Therefore, the screening process for people looking after senior citizens should thoroughly look into their past work history and check for any potential criminal records. Organizations that require police checks for workers are those that work with senior citizens who are in aged care facilities; for employees giving care services and home maintenance personnel employed to these vulnerable people.
Hospice Care Background Checks
Another group of people that are vulnerable to harm and to be exploited are terminally ill patients in hospice or palliative care. It is important for such organizations to look into the backgrounds of their employees and workers who will be engaging with such patients so that their families can be sure that no legal or physical harm will come to their loved ones.