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Information for students who need to be safety checked under the Vulnerable Children Act

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The University of Otago is committed to the well-being of children and young people. Under the Vulnerable Children Act, students whose studies involve regular or overnight contact with children and young people in the context of particular regulated services must be safety checked. Such safety checking must occur before any relevant child contact takes place.

If you are enrolling in a programme and/or papers that requires safety checking you will normally need to:

  • provide identity confirmation via original copies of specified primary and secondary identity documents (please note that expired passports cannot be accepted)
  • provide information about previous criminal convictions, including authorisation for a New Zealand police vet
  • provide a history of your employment, if any, over the last five years
  • provide the names of any relevant professional bodies, licencing authorities and/or registration authorities to which you belongs or through which you are licenced or registered (such organisations may be contacted by the University)
  • provide details of referee(s) who are not relations, who may be contacted by the University about your suitability to work with children
  • provide any other information considered to be relevant by the University, and
  • be interviewed by University representative(s) on your suitability to work with children.

On the basis of the information you provide, the University will then conduct a risk assessment.

Information on the specific process for your programme or papers will be provided by the University department conducting your safety check. Evidence of compliant checks carried out by another organisation may also be accepted, where any child contact in the course of your studies will take place within that organisation. Talk to your department for further advice.

Please note that if the University deems you to be a risk to children, you may not be able to enrol in relevant programmes or papers, or may have conditions imposed on your interactions with children. If you have been convicted of any specified criminal offences then you are extremely unlikely to be permitted to enrol in papers or programmes involving work with children, and attempting to enrol in such courses is not recommended.

Safety checks are valid for no more than three years, so if you are continuing in your studies beyond that time, you may also need to be rechecked.