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New laws protect children from animal abusers

People who commit serious animal cruelty will be permanently disqualified from working with children, under new laws introduced in NSW.

The reforms were brought about by Emma Hurst, Animal Justice Party (AJP) MP, who has been lobbying the government for the past 18 months.

“A significant body of research shows that the abuse of animals in the home is a strong indicator that children are also being abused. One study found that in 83 per cent of households where animal abuse occurred, there was also the risk of child abuse.”

The laws will also people who commit any other animal cruelty offences face increased scrutiny when applying for a Working with Children Check.

Hurst said research has show connections between animal abuse and domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, gun violence, and a higher propensity towards violence in society in general.

“We must recognise that people who harm animals are a risk to the broader community, and that in order to protect children, we should not allow them to obtain a Working with Children clearance.”

Hurst first learnt that those convicted of high level, intentional acts of animal cruelty were not automatically disqualified from holding a Working with Children Check in 2020.

“Back in 2020, I learnt that a NSW man charged with stabbing a dog with a pitchfork six times, and leaving her strung up to a tree to die a slow painful death, was still possibly working with children.”