A stressed young man who masturbated on children's clothes hanging on his neighbour's washing line has won his bid to be allowed to work with children.

The 20-year-old told a psychologist he "just wanted to feel the rush of doing something not right" when he committed the lewd act in 2014 while his neighbours weren't home.

"I never intended to hurt anybody or put the neighbours through anything," he said.

"Knowing I've hurt a family kills me inside."


He was under pressure at the time, suffering from chronic acne, having problems with his girlfriend and HSC study pressure, he said.

The man was arrested on his 18th birthday but the charges were eventually dismissed on the condition he undergo psychological treatment.

Now in his third year of studying to be an occupational therapist, the man applied for a Working with Children Check clearance.

But the NSW Children's Guardian refused to give it to him, considering him to pose a risk to the safety of children, as well as having concerns that not enough time has passed since the incident and his lack of insight into his behaviour.

In granting him a Working with Children Check clearance on Wednesday, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal found he didn't target the children's clothing and now appreciates the seriousness of his behaviour and the potential it had to cause harm.

He conceded the children would have been traumatised and frightened if they had seen him.

The tribunal accepted evidence from psychologists that the man's behaviour was not driven by a sexual fetish or pattern of sexually deviant behaviour, but rather it was reckless and anti-social risk taking.

It found he does not pose a real and appreciable risk to the safety of children.