Former head of the Queensland Academy of Sport tells a royal commission a coach accused of abuse did not need a working with children’s check.
The Queensland Academy of Sport didn’t think Olympic swimming coach Scott Volkers needed a working with children test because he wouldn’t have much contact with them, a royal commission has heard.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is examining how Swimming Australia and the Queensland Academy of Sport dealt with allegations of child sex abuse against Mr Volkers in 2002.
The charges were dropped in 2003.
The former director of the Queensland Academy of Sport, Alexander Baumann, on Tuesday told the royal commission he was aware a person who escaped conviction for child abuse may still be unsuitable to work with children.
“I was aware of this but I guess in Scott’s case, he wasn’t working with children,” Mr Baumann told the commission via video link from New Zealand.
“You weren’t concerned about whether or not he was a suitable person to work with children; is that correct?” council assisting, Caroline Spruce asked.
“Because he was coordinator of the program, correct,” Mr Baumann replied.
Four women made seven allegations against Mr Volkers in 2002, accusing him of sexually abusing them when they were teenagers in the 1980s and 1990s.
The Queensland DPP ultimately decided to drop the seven charges against him.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Mr Baumann repeatedly described Mr Volkers as a “coach’s coach” who had more contact with other coaches at the academy than children.
Mr Baumann was read detailed allegations made against Mr Volkers in 2005 by a former academy athlete known as AEE.
The police report – made during Mr Baumann’s tenure – accused Mr Volkers of assaulting her with a sex toy between 1997 and 1998.
Ms Spruce asked Mr Baumann if those allegations would have made him concerned.
“Absolutely, absolutely,” he said.
“And I have not read those.”
Mr Volkers applied twice for a Queensland “blue card” – essentially a working with children’s check – but was ultimately denied when Queensland’s Civil and Administrative Tribunal found he posed an unacceptable risk to children.
At the time, government employees were exempt from the requirement to get a working with children check. The hearings continue.