Passion project aims to help keep kids safe
By Kerryn Burgess, editor, Our Community Matters
A tech consultant who was sexually abused as a schoolboy says his latest invention is a "passion project" aimed at making sure other children don't suffer what he did.
Duty of Care is a web-based platform designed to help organisations to manage Working with Children (WWC) checks.
Creator Luke Benson said the alternative - relying on people to perform manual tasks such as periodically visiting a website to check the validity of WWC checks - leaves organisations at risk of non-compliance, and children at risk of harm.
Mr Benson said his own personal journey had motivated him to take his idea to his managing director two years ago.
"As a young boy at boarding school, I endured a period of sustained sexual abuse by a boarding house tutor," he told Our Community. "Almost 30 years later, at the Royal Commission, I gave evidence about that experience, the ongoing impact, and I finally learnt the truth about the many failures in the school's systems that let me and my friends down so badly.
"Almost 1 million people applied for a Working with Children Check in 2018. Without Duty of Care, some of these people could have their accreditation revoked but continue to work with children and other vulnerable people for years to come."
Mr Benson said Duty of Care was more robust than other tech systems designed to manage WWC checks.
"Other solutions provide expiry management but do not have continuous verification, nor can they notify all organisations that an individual is involved with, nor can they offer organisations the permanent record and proof of proactive fulfilment of their duty of care."
Duty of Care uses blockchain technology to perform continuous real-time validation of accreditations across Australia.
The service relies on a network of encrypted records (blocks) stored in a secure distributed database to enable a permanent, auditable and tamper-proof record of an organisation's accreditation verification history.
The real-time data is available to organisations through easy-to-use dashboards, enabling prompt action to ensure the safety of children.
Child Safety Toolkit (free PDF download): Our Community and Moores created the Child Safety Toolkit as part of our shared commitment to promoting child safety, and helping not-for-profit organisations ensure compliance with the complex web of legislation in this area.