Newcastle has a new specialist in town; a professional and independent service in investigations, intelligence and support for organisations facing abuse allegations relating to a child or person with a disability.
Fair Square Investigations is a local mobile service that focuses on matters reportable to the NSW Ombudsman in particular investigations that feed into the state’s working with children screening checks.
Managing Director, Emma Hale established the company earlier this year to provide an external service that offers impartial, independent and non-judgmental investigations and post-investigation advice to reduce risk and prevent future allegations or incidents.
“These allegations can be stressful for the organisation, employees and clients (children or person with a disability),” Emma said.
“It is necessary to have a person who has a range of skills and empathy to work with the different people involved and their stress responses to the allegations.”
Emma said generally these types of cases were managed in-house or outsourced to state or national operators that subcontracted the work to generalist investigators.
“Newcastle deserves its own local specialist that doesn’t outsource technical investigations and can go beyond the investigation and suggest ways to provide safe environments for the organisation, staff and clients,” Emma said.
“From my experience I could see a need for someone with more practical skills with children and vulnerable people to do investigations and also to assist organisations to identify additional strategies, especially related to structures, procedures, processes and policies.”
Emma has worked in investigations and intelligence with government regulators, police, churches, schools and social services.
Her background includes several years working with police on major strike forces relating to child sexual abuse, time in the Catholic Church Professional Standards Investigation area and delivering mental health and drug education programs at schools.
This experience coupled with criminology studies, has given her an in-depth understanding of abuse and strategies for abuse prevention as well as an ability to work well with children and people with disabilities.
“I understand that many allegations, even though they are not criminal, still have a huge impact on the organisation, staff and clients. Fair Square is driven to help organisations ensure children, people with disabilities and staff are in safe environments,” Emma said.
IMAGE | Managing Director of Fair Square Investigations, Emma Hale.