School changes for WA kids on sex charges

Children charged with sex offences will no longer be allowed to attend West Australian schools if they are deemed a risk to other students.

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Education Minister Sue Ellery promised a review in March after reports of students sexually assaulting other children and then remaining at school, with staff and parents unaware of what had happened.

Ms Ellery was advised at the time that there were no existing protocols to manage the risk the alleged perpetrator posed, or a notification system for the school when a child was charged or investigated.

She said a protocol was now in place to develop a case management plan for them.

“Immediately police will notify schools when a student is charged and in some cases, depending on their circumstances, if a child is under investigation,” she told 6PR radio on Monday.

“Department of Education, Corrective Services, Child Protection and police will do a determination to identify what is the level of risk, does the student need to be removed either temporarily or permanently from the school, what clinical interventions need to be put in place and what educational arrangements need to be put in place if the child cannot attend the school.”

Ms Ellery said parents must also be involved in case management planning as a condition of bail, and schools would be notified if bail conditions changed.

She said if an accused child offender was considered a risk to other students they could get home schooling or distance education.

“Sometimes they don’t come from functional families, so getting parental supervision is not always easy,” she said.

“(But) if it is not safe for other children for that child to return to school then the child will not be returning to school.”

The mother of a nine-year-old boy expressed outrage in March when her son’s alleged abusers, aged 12 and 17, were allowed to continue going to school, although it was not the same school her son attended.

A 10-year-old boy was also this year accused of raping an eight-year-old child while armed with a weapon, but the charges were dropped following a psychiatric report.

A teenager convicted of raping and threatening to kill his nine-year-old neighbour was also spared detention last week, the West Australian newspaper reported.