Complaints about UM made to FACS as early as 2013
THE State Government body in charge of child protection may have been alerted to children being referred to Universal Medicine as early as 2013.
The Office of the Children's Guardian is investigating after two girls under Family and Community Services care were allegedly referred to treatments offered by the Goonellabah business.
The ABC has reported FACS documents from 2016 endorsed "the role of UM teachings and events in the lives of two girls overseen by the Lismore office".
The documents relate to the FACS care plans for two girls - who cannot be identified - in which FACS "endorsed their involvement with the UM-affiliated Girl to Woman Festival".
A FACS staff member has publicly endorsed UM, including participating in a music video on the Youtube page for Glorious Music Records, a label created by Serge Benhayon's son, Michael.
Staunch Universal Medicine opponent and online blogger Esther Rockett said in an online post she had informed FACS of Universal Medicine affiliates in their Lismore office in 2013.
"I notified FACS of risks to kids from that time," she said.
"I notified MPs Pru Goward, Thomas George and other MPs four and a half years ago."
Universal Medicine founder Serge Benhayon recently tried to to sue Ms Rockett for defamation before the NSW Supreme Court.
In this case, the jury found most of Ms Rockett's defamatory imputations were "substantially true", that UM was a "socially harmful cult" and that Mr Benhayon "engages in inappropriate conduct towards women", "is guilty of inappropriate behaviour with children" and "is not a fit person to hold a Working with Children Certificate".
Former Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell said all government agencies needed to be "vigilant" when it came to child and community safety.
"One of those examples was known to me," Ms Dowell said.
"I saw the document some time ago and was shocked.
"It's really up to the minister and FACS itself to examine its processes and its people.
"FACS needs to make sure any referral agency or individual is beyond reproach."
Ms Dowell has welcomed news the matter would be further considered by The Office of the Children's Guardian.
"That is a great step and I would encourage staff members and other people who are affected by this or feel they may have been to come and speak up," she said.
In a statement, a Department of Family and Community Services spokeswoman said the children in question "have no involvement with Universal Medicine" at this time.
"FACS has referred the matter to the Office of the Children's Guardian," she said.
"FACS takes all allegations of abuse and harm against children and young people extremely seriously.
"The information in the Supreme Court judgment is known to FACS and staff are taking appropriate action to ensure it has no impact on children known to FACS."
She said FACS' "key priority" was "to always act in the interest of the safety and wellbeing of children".
She was unable to confirm whether concerns about the situation were raised in 2013, or whether there was any investigation.
A spokesman for Lismore MP Thomas George confirmed their office "did receive correspondence from Esther Rocket" on February 27, 2014, "outlining concerns she had regarding Universal Medicine".
"As the correspondence had already been sent to other relevant recipients, no further action was taken by Mr George's electorate office," he said.
Pru Goward's office was approached for comment but referred enquiries back to FACS.
The Office of the Children's Guardian have also been approached for comment.