Mum ‘appalled’ by shocking shopping centre Santa loophole
A SUNSHINE Coast mum has lashed out at Queensland law after discovering those who play the role of Santa in shopping centres don't require Blue Cards.
Families who take their children to sit on Santa's lap this Christmas have no guarantee the man in the big red suit has been cleared to work with children.
Mum-of-two Angela Porter was "appalled" to know her kids could potentially be in the hands of a person who had an inappropriate past.
"I cannot understand how that has been some sort of loophole," she said.
"My thinking is that anyone that has anything to do with children should have a Blue Card.
"It's just not good enough."
Ms Porter feared it would be "too convenient" for a shopping centre Santa to take advantage of a child given the circumstances.
"How easy would it be to use that as a tool to reach your objective, so to speak?," she said.
"It's a no-brainer really, when you think about how easy it would be to do it."
Having children herself who are on the autism spectrum, Ms Porter believed kids with disabilities would be even more "at risk".
"Knowing children myself who are non-verbal and wouldn't be able to communicate inappropriate touching or things of that nature, it makes it even worse," she said.
"I just find the whole concept appalling. It's disgraceful."
A Department of Justice and Attorney-General spokesman confirmed Blue Cards were not mandatory for shopping centre Santas.
"Blue Cards are not required for every environment in which a child is present, for example a shopping centre environment where parents are able to exercise parental responsibility," they said.
"Department stores and shopping centres who engage Santas should have clear policies and procedures for screening, recruiting, training and managing their staff including having a code of conduct which outlines the behaviour expected of an employee when interacting with children."
Given how "hectic" Christmas is, Ms Porter said parents couldn't always have a watchful eye over their children.
"If mum's not watching or if you have one child that has your attention, all it takes is one second for something inappropriate to occur," she said.
"Then that is a lifetime of recovery for that little person, and that's just not right."
The spokesman added a person playing the role of Santa "may require a Blue Card when working in certain areas of child-related employment", such as in schools or sporting clubs.
"The Blue Card is one tool for identifying and managing risks to children. It can never replace vigilance by parents, families and others within our community," they said.