How to check if potential employees are sex offenders

Friday, April 20, 2018

The National Registrar for Sex Offenders (NSRO) may not be readily available to the general public but for those who employ people who work with children or disabled people, access is given to protect these vulnerable groups.

Implemented on 30 June 2009 by the Justice Department, the NSRO aims to “curb the prevalence of sexual offences in South Africa” and “stop the spate of incidents against children and mentally disabled people”.

It does this by ensuring the names of sex offenders are penned down and formally registered to prevent them from working with children and disabled people.

According to the Criminal Procedure Act, the employee must tell his/her new employer about the court decision when applying for a job. Not telling an employer about a sexual offence could lead to one getting a fine or imprisonment, or both.

Failure to disclose conviction during the application process for a job that entails working with children or mentally disabled persons is against the law.

While the NSRO relies on the honesty of those convicted of sexual offences to be forthcoming about their actions - especially to their employers and potential employers - the register provides employers an opportunity to verify candidates.

This list or register, gives employers in the public or private sector such as schools; crèches and hospitals the right to check that the person being hired is fit to work with children or mentally disabled people.

To ensure offenders are jotted down on the register, it uses the Police, Department of Correctional Services, the Department of Health and the courts to furnish it with relevant information for the registration of offenders.

Some of the sexual offences committed against children and persons who are mentally disabled include:

  • Rape
  • Compelled rape
  • Sexual assault
  • Compelled sexual assault;
  • Compelled self-sexual assault
  • Acts of consensual sexual penetration with certain children (statutory rape)
  • Acts of consensual sexual violation with certain children (statutory sexual assault)
  • Compelling or causing children to witness sexual offences, sexual acts or self-masturbation
  • Exposure or display or causing of exposure or display of genital organs, anus or female breasts to children
  • Sexual exploitation of children and persons who are mentally disabled;
  • Sexual grooming of children and persons who are mentally disabled;
  • Exposure or display of or causing exposure or display of child pornography or pornography to children or persons who are mentally disabled;
  • Using children or persons who are mentally disabled for pornographic purposes or benefiting there from.

According to the NSRO, offenders who are convicted of any one of the sexual offences may be listed on the national register.

How to apply for a background check

The National Child Protection Register, in terms of section 126 of the Children’s Act, 2005, is accessible to employers offering services which allow for access to children.

Employers who want to conduct their own background check can do so before employing a person.

The employer has to establish from the Registrar of the National Child Protection Register whether or not the potential employee’s name is on Part B of the National Child Protection Register.

If the potential employee’s name appears on the Register, he or she will not be allowed to work in an environment which allows for access to children, since persons whose names appear on the Register have been found unsuitable to work with children by the court.

In order to establish whether the person’s name appears in Part B of the Child Protection Register, the employer should complete a Form 29, which they can obtain from the Department of Social Development and send it to CPRenquiries@dsd.gov.za. The contact number for the Registrar is 012 312 7554. –SAnews.go.za

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