The Working with Children Check assists in protecting children from sexual or physical harm by ensuring that people who work with, or care for, them are subject to a screening process.
If you are doing or intending to do child-related work and do not qualify for an exemption, you need a Check.
To help you decide if you are doing child-related work, go to Who needs a Check?
Organisations need to:
- determine which paid and volunteer workers require a Check
- ensure workers have a valid Check
- ensure new starters apply for a Check before commencing child-related work.
The Check is just just one of an organisation’s responsibilities in creating and maintaining a child-safe environment. It screens a person’s criminal records and any reports about professional conduct by the bodies listed in What is checked.
The Check does not assess a person’s suitability to work with or care for children in a particular role. It is the responsibility of organisations to assess if a person is suitable to work with children and to continue monitoring their workers' behaviour around children.
Organisations should be vigilant at all times by doing thorough reference checks and establishing sound, ongoing supervision practices so that children are safe from harm.
Organisations must comply with the Child Safe Standards that have been introduced as part of the Victorian Government's response to the Betrayal of Trust Inquiry. These are compulsory minimum standards under the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 that apply to organisations that provide services for children. The standards help ensure the safety of children. Organisations must also comply with the Reportable conduct scheme requirements that came into effect on 1 July 2017. For more information go to Commission for Children and Young People.
Unless you are exempt, you must obtain a Check to do child-related work. You are doing child-related work if you work within one or more of the occupational fields defined in the Act, and your contact with children is direct and part of your duties.
Some people are exempt from the Check including teachers registered with the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT), and parents working with their child. For details, go to Exemptions.
If you pass the Check, you can do child-related work for five years. The checking continues during this time as your criminal records and professional conduct continue to be monitored. This means that if, for example, you are charged with a serious crime, your eligibility to continue working with children will be reassessed.
If the Department of Justice and Regulation decides that you should not pass the Check, you will have an opportunity to explain in a submission why you believe you should pass. If, after consideration of your submission, you still do not pass the Check, you can appeal the department’s decision at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
The first Checks were processed in 2006.
By 30 June 2017 over 1.6 million people had passed the Check, and 3,322 people had failed the Check and were prohibited from working with children.
Since its introduction, the scheme has been regularly reviewed and the Act amended several times to strengthen its operation and ensure the efficient administration of the Check.