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How is a Police Check different?

The Working with Children (WWC) Check and a Police Check are different checks.

Under the Working with Children Act 2005 (the Act) if you are doing child-related work and not exempt, you must have a WWC Check even if you have also had a Police Check done.

The WWC Check is conducted by the Department of Justice & Regulation to determine if a person poses an unjustifiable risk to the safety of children. The WWC Check screens a person’s criminal records and in some cases their professional conduct. The WWC Check focuses on serious sexual, violent and drug offences. For more information go to List of Offences. The department continues to monitor these records for the life of the WWC Check.

The Police Check is not an assessment by a government agency. It is only a list, at a given point in time, of the offences a person has committed. Organisations request this list to help them assess a person’s suitability for other kinds of work. For example, an organisation might want to know about fraud offences if they were recruiting someone with access to cash or expensive goods.


  Working with Children Check Police Check
Does it allow me to work or volunteer with children? Yes, passing a WWC Check  allows you to engage in child-related work for 5 years while your criminal record continues to be monitored. No.
How does it work? The WWC Check is a screening process that examines serious criminal charges, offences, findings of guilt and professional conduct reports related to the safety of children across a person’s lifetime. A Police Check is only a list of the offences that can be disclosed from a person’s national criminal records. There is no assessment or investigation made of the offences.
Can I fail?

Yes, you will either pass or fail the WWC Check.


You cannot ‘pass' or 'fail’ a Police Check; it is simply a list of offences.

What is checked?


  1. National criminal records
  2. Professional conduct reports including those of the Victorian Institute of Teaching and the Suitability Panel.
National criminal records.

What kind of offences are  included?


Offences relevant to the safety of children, such as serious sexual, violent or drug crimes. All types of offences.
How far back does the Check go? Across a person's lifetime. Some offences cannot be disclosed, depending on when they were committed. Go to Victoria Police’s Information Release Policy for details.

How long is the Check valid for?


5 years unless suspended, revoked or surrendered.
  • Only current at the time of issue
  • your organisation may require you to undergo subsequent Police Checks.

Is my criminal record monitored?


Yes. Your criminal record continues to be monitored for the life of your WWC Check. Victoria Police automatically notifies the department of relevant charges, offences and findings of guilt, which then results in a re-assessment of your eligibility to hold a WWC Check. No. A new Police Check is needed to show any new offences.

What happens when I change organisations?


If you pass, your WWC Check is valid for 5 years unless the department suspends or revokes it. The WWC Check enables you to lawfully do child-related work for any organisation.

However, if you move from voluntary to paid work you must apply for an Employee WWC Check and pay the fee.

Organisations have their own policies regarding Police Checks. You may need a new Police Check when you start a new job.


Links to Police Checks

Victoria Police

For Victorians who wish to obtain a Police Check for paid or unpaid work, licences or registration.

Australian Federal Police

Police Checks for immigration and visa applications, working overseas, adoption, people seeking to work for the Federal Government and people requiring a Police Check under Commonwealth legislation.