The Courier-Mail

Flaw left more kids at risk

Minister tells of possible 300 other abuse cases

- SARAH VOGLER

A FURTHER 300 serious reports of child abuse made by schools to child safety may have been blocked by the Education Department’s firewall as investigat­ions into the major bungle continue.

Education Minister Kate Jones revealed during a budget estimates hearing yesterday that up to 300 more reports made by principals may not have made it to police as a result of the firewall bungle. That comes on top of a confirmed 27 other such cases.

A further 644 reports of potential child sex abuse made by principals to police under the OneSchool system also never made it because of another system bungle, a coding error. Ms Jones said it could be weeks before it was known exactly how many reports went missing, with investigat­ors trawling through about 17,000 reports made since online reporting first began in 2013.

The department is now conducting daily manual checks of all new reports.

Ms Jones made the revelation while being questioned on the bungle by Opposition education spokesman Tim Mander.

“It was 27 this year but we think going back to 2013 already we approximat­e that its around 300 (that were blocked),” she said.

Education Director-Gen- eral Jim Watterston said about 270 reports had been identified as potentiall­y being blocked by the firewall. It was believed many of those matters had been reported to authoritie­s in other ways.

Ms Jones said it would take between four and six weeks to check all 17,000 reports.

The investigat­ion into the bungle first began last month after a principal inquired about the status of a report he had made to police. That led to the revelation 644 reports had never made it to police because of a coding error.

An external investigat­ion by Deloitte uncovered 27 more serious allegation­s of abuse which had been blocked by a second problem, a firewall. The investigat­ion is expected to cost taxpayers $1 million.

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