Bullying

Case Study - Child Abuse investigation spans 10 years, 8 families and overruled criminal charges

WISE conducts these specialised investigations with skill, compassion and diplomacy.

We can provide an initial investigation plan and risk assessment to the organisation.

Our initial assessment provides advice in accordance with employer obligations under different legislation.

In Child Protection cases we conduct an investigation of fact with in-depth interviews with relevant parties. We obtain statements and conduct records of interview with respondents.

We will make findings on the alleged conduct, identify systemic issues and perform a risk assessment for the organisation.

Our findings are based on fact. Recommendations are made in accordance with applicable legislation.

Background

WISE played an integral role in a recent high profile case that attracted widespread media coverage.

An employee with children in his care was facing criminal charges for a series of alleged serious offences.

Under legislation contained in the Ombudsman Act the employer was obliged to fully investigate the allegations against the employee and make findings in respect of those allegations.

The employer contracted WISE to conduct a review of all complaints against the employee spanning over a 10-year period.

This case involved complaints from more than eight families and involved numerous alleged incidents during that time.

The complaints ranged from sexual assault, to inappropriate behaviour comments made to children in a variety of residential and non-residential settings. 

WISE provided advice on how the investigation should be conducted, which matters were required to be included in the investigation and how they were best presented in the reports.

Objectives

WISE's main objective was to gather and evaluate all evidence relating to the case.

The evidence would form the basis of detailed reports for the employer, the NSW Ombudsman, the NSW Department of Community Services and the NSW Police Service.

Approach

The case involved identifying children who were now adults and had moved away from the area.

WISE conducted a series of detailed interviews involving sensitive issues regarding events that occurred many years previously.

The investigation also involved the evaluation of evidence from notes and conversations held between parties many years previously.

WISE conducted recorded interviews with the employee and other people nominated by the employee to evaluate the credibility of all the accounts.

A detailed report was later presented to the employer and to the Ombudsman.

WISE participated in briefings and advisory meetings with the Ombudsman and acted as a vital go-between for the employer and the Ombudsman.  

Strategic Outcomes

WISE provided a number of reports complying with the required standard of the Ombudsman and the employer.

During the investigation the WISE Investigator displayed sensitivity toward the complainants, providing closure for those individuals. At the same time they provided a thorough and procedurally fair process gaining the confidence of the respondent.

The case was referred to the Commission for Children and Young People.
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