The Working with Children (WWC) Check helps protect children from physical and sexual harm. The scheme aims to prevent those who pose a risk to children from working or volunteering with them.
If you are engaged in or intending to do child-related work and do not qualify for an exemption, you need a WWC Check (the Check).
To help you decide if you are undertaking child-related work see Who needs a Check?
Organisations need to determine which staff or volunteers require the Check, ensure that they have a valid card and that new starters apply for a Check before they commence working or volunteering.
The Check is only one means of helping organisations protect children from harm. Organisations should also have sound screening and supervision practices in the workplace to complement the Check.
You must apply for a WWC Check before you start child-related work and pass the Check to continue this work. You are doing child-related work if:
- your work is paid or voluntary
- your work is connected to one or more of the occupational fields listed in the Act
- your work involves regular direct contact with children
- this work is not directly supervised by another person.
Some exemptions apply.
To assess your suitability to work with children, the Check examines your national criminal history and, where appropriate, professional disciplinary findings for relevant offences.
If you pass the Check, you will receive a WWC Check card enabling you to participate in child-related work for 5 years. During this time, your criminal and professional records will continue to be monitored.
If the Department of Justice believes that you should not pass the Check, you will have an opportunity to make a submission explaining why you believe you should pass the Check. If you do not pass the Check after your submission has been considered, you may appeal the department’s decision through the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
When the Working with Children Act 2005 (the Act) was passed, the WWC Check became a legal requirement for people engaged in child-related work. The first Checks were completed and cards issued in 2006. Since then the department has issued approximately 820,000 (as at 30/04/2012) WWC Check cards.
Since its introduction, the WWC Check has been regularly reviewed and the Act amended several times to strengthen it and simplify the administration of the Check.
The WWC Check was introduced to Victoria gradually with all the occupational fields listed in the Act being phased in between 2006 to 2011. The Check is now fully implemented and anyone intending to do child-related work must apply for a WWC Check before they begin working or volunteering with children.