The 83-year-old Australian entertainer Rolf Harris has been charged with nine counts of indecent assault and four counts of creating “indecent images” of minors, after facing the Westminster Magistrates Court in London two weeks ago. As ABC News reported, one complainant alleged that Harris indecently assaulted her when she was 15 years old at a London recording studio between 1980 and 1981. The other woman claimed she was indecently assaulted by Harris when she was touring the United Kingdom at age 14 in 1986 with her performance group, Shopfront. Harris has been released on conditional bail and is to appear at a higher court in April 2014, and has been banned from unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18.
This case again highlights the scourge of child abuse across all walks of life and reinforces the importance for reducing the risk of paedophilia through running background checks on any person working with children in the entertainment, sports and event industries.
Across Australia there are varying levels of due diligence that an employer must exercise where working with children is involved. As a standard it is expected that every person likely to be working with minors (whether in paid or volunteer roles), carries an appropriate Working with Children card as issued by the relevant state Government Authority.