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Children Check for church photographers

St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne is requiring all wedding photographers working at the church to obtain a Working With Children Check (WWCC).

St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne. Source: Douglas Paul Perkins/Wikimedia.

Parish secretary, Julie Allan, sent an e-mail to wedding photographers and videographers alerting them to the new policy.

After consultation with the Professional Standards Office of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, the church has made this requirement to meet the recommendations of the Royal Commission. (We assume the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse)

Allan told Inside Imaging that many photographers have responded to congratulate the church for being vigilant with Royal Commission recommendations.

Photographers scheduled to shoot a wedding at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne are asked to obtain a WWCC, and scan and e-mail the document at least one week prior to the wedding. This also applies to second shooters, assistants, and any other personnel from the photography business working at the wedding.

A WWCC costs $123, and it generally takes three weeks for the application to be processed and two more weeks for the card to arrive by mail. However, an e-mail is sent once the applicant has passed the check.

The department screens applicants for criminal records, and professional conduct determinations and findings within various government sectors. Click here for more.

Here’s the full e-mail:
‘After consultation with the Professional Standards Office of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, we have been made aware that all photographers & videographers at weddings will require a Working With Children Check to be permitted to operate in the cathedral.

If you currently have a WWCC, kindly scan and email the WWCC to at least one week prior to the wedding. This applies to all personnel from your firm who will be attending for photography or videography purposes.

If you do not have a WWCC, kindly apply for one immediately, and scan the receipt of application, and later, the WWCC.

The Cathedral Office will retain records of all those who have presented their WWCC so that in future, you will only need to inform the office of the date their attendance at the Cathedral. Any new members of staff will need to present a WWCC before being permitted to film.

Those measures are to ensure that the recommendations of the Royal Commission are fulfilled, and I am sure you join us in being fully committed to child safety.’

One Comment

  1. Don Brice Don Brice March 27, 2019

    I’d be surprised if, for their own protection and professional credibility, most family and wedding photographers didn’t already have a WWCC or current equivalent.
    But if the goal of the Archdiocese is to stop any un-police-checked person in the cathedral taking photos that may include a child, surely the hired professional is not their biggest problem.
    Are all guests banned from taking photos on diocesan property? Are phones confiscated at the door?
    Don’t the hundreds of relatively anonymous unaccountable snappers in the pew present a far bigger risk?
    To my reading of the recommendations, the only mention of the WWCC and photography involves the clause of “providing a commercial service for children”. While a child appearing in a wedding party might represent “incidental contact with children” ( for which a WWCC is not required ) is it a stretch to apply this one clause to weddings?

    To me it feels like the Diocese wants to be seen to be vigilant, (AKA: liability insurance a**covering) but in reality it’s a useless gesture.

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