“Our Mission to Save Children”: New Anti-Abuse Technology - 96five Family Radio

“Our Mission to Save Children”: New Anti-Abuse Technology

A new tech start-up lead by former CEO of World Vision Australia promises to increase protection of all vulnerable people from malpractice and abuse.

By Michael CrooksMonday 7 Jun 2021TechnologyReading Time: 3 minutes

The former CEO of World Vision Australia has launched a revolutionary venture that better protects children from predators.

The start-up technology business, Oho, allows organisations that work with children, such as schools and childcare centres, to continuously monitor the background checks of their employees.

Employers must ensure that their workforce – including sub contractors and volunteers – do not pose any threat to children, as stipulated under the Australian Human Rights Commission’s National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.

In most states and territories, this comes under the Working With Children Check. It is known as a Blue Card in Queensland and the Working With Vulnerable People check in the ACT.

But without ongoing checks, most organisations cannot claim with certainty that each employee poses no danger to a child.

Through technology, Oho works to keep the system current.

The company’s executive director Claire Rogers, who is the former CEO of World Vision Australia, said that a service such as Oho is badly needed.

“This is so important to enable children to be protected,” Ms Rogers said.

“A lot of organisations think their HR system do this check [Working with Children]. But the actual truth is, they don’t. They collect the card number, but they’re not verifying them against anything. We’re on a mission to get as many children as possible covered by Oho.”

“Abusers strike more than once”

Oho co-founder and chairperson Daniel Muggeridge said that their research demonstrated that Australian families believe organisations are continuously monitoring worker accreditation, such as Working With Children checks.

“In reality, they are not,” he said.

Indeed, the common practice is that employers verify a new employee when they join a business, “and then often only review annually, on expiry, or never again”, Mr Muggeridge said.

“If a worker is de-registered for abuse or malpractice, their employer may not know in time, if ever. And available research suggests the majority of abusers strike more than once.”

Ground-breaking tech

Enter Oho. Developed in Australia, the tech start-up automates the monitoring of an employee’s background.

“What we’re doing is making it really easy for organisations to have rapid and up-to-date information about those that work for them,” Ms Rogers said.

“Oho keeps watch, every week of every month, every year. If a person is de-registered for a charge of abuse or malpractice, the employer will know and can act immediately.”

Key features of the Oho platform include automatically and continuously verifying accreditations of employees and volunteers.

A survivor’s brave act

Ms Rogers said that a male sexual abuse survivor, who sought to protect others, inspired the Oho mission.

“We started from a lived experience of abuse – a survivor who courageously went to the Royal Commission to be a witness,” she said, referring to the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse.

Key features of the Oho platform include automatically and continuously verifying accreditations of employees and volunteers.

It also includes “rapid notification” of expiry or revocation of an employee’s accreditation. (A Working with Children Check expires after five years.)

“Every Australian should ask the question, ‘How many times is it acceptable for a vulnerable person to be abused? When is it ever OK?’ ” Mr Muggeridge said.

“Even if one person is saved from abuse, Oho will be successful,” Ms Rogers said.

“Oho has the capacity to protect millions of Australians by using technology for good.”

Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.

Feature image: Photo by Spikeball on Unsplash