NZ Herald

219 children at risk of "immediate" abuse due to IT bungle

AS MANY as 219 of the children whose cases fell through the cracks following a huge IT bungle are at "immediate" risk of sex abuse.

Queensland Police on Sunday revealed it was looking into 219 potentially high-risk cases after the "coding error" that had 644 claims of abuse go unreported to authorities.

The glitch hit the Department of Education's OneSchool technology between January 22 and July 31.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Cameron Harsley said families of children facing immediate risk of abuse would get a knock on the door soon.

"Out of the 219 there will be matters where the child will be deemed, potentially, at immediate risk," Acting Assistant Commissioner Harsley said.

"So police will be attending residences throughout Queensland," he said.

He said that of the other cases, 151 were already known to police.

He said officers would look into the remaining 274 claims.

"Some investigations will finalise within the coming days or weeks, other investigations will go on for several months," he said.

"I'm confident these matters are having a timely response where the priority requires - either immediate response or a routine investigation."

Acting Assistant Commissioner Harsley said everyone should be concerned about the safety of children.

"It's not an issue that police or other community agencies can deal with alone," he said.

"It's something to remind us all as parents, guardians or members of the community, it's our responsibility to take an interest in the wellbeing of children."

OneSchool enables principals to report cases of suspected abuse electronically to police but a coding error is being blamed for the malfunction.

A Department of Education contractor and an employee were stood aside until a review is finished.

Education Minister Kate Jones on Friday said the system, which was rolled out on January 22, was not tested before it went live.

"I'm deeply sorry that this situation has occurred," Ms Jones said.

"But I'm also extremely angry that you would go through with a change in January to an IT system without running the proper checks and balances."

Deloitte Australia will investigate the failed implementation of a OneSchool update that led to the malfunction.

Ms Jones said Deloitte would examine the decisions, procedures and accountability systems.



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