Written Answers. - Child Protection Guidelines.

Mary Upton

Question:

258 Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if teachers, leaders, college assistants and owners of houses where children stay, have all been vetted according to child protection guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15249/02]

I refer the Deputy to the answer to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 572 and 573 of 17 April, 2002 which dealt comprehensively with the issue of clearance arrangements in respect of child related employments. I emphasise that Part 4 of the Sex Offenders Act, 2001, obliges convicted sex offenders, which includes persons convicted abroad as well as in this jurisdiction, and before as well as after the commencement of the Act, when seeking or accepting employment or a voluntary position involving unsupervised access to children, to inform their prospective employer of the fact of the conviction. Failure to do so is an offence attracting a maximum penalty, when convicted on indictment, of a fine not exceeding €12,697 and-or imprisonment for up to five years. This new offence, which came into operation on 27 September, 2001, along with the rest of the Act, is designed to act as a deterrent to unsuitable persons from seeking to gain access to children through the workplace, where relationships based on trust or fear can develop.