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How is a Police Check different?

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

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

The WWC Check is an ongoing assessment by the Department of Justice of a person’s suitability to work with children, examining relevant serious sexual, physical and drug offences in a person’s national criminal history and, where appropriate, their professional history.

The Police Check does not involve an assessment by a government agency. It is only a list of offences at a point in time. Some organisations need the list to help them assess a person’s suitability for other kinds of work e.g. an accountant or treasurer, where they would be looking for any fraud offences.


  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 an assessment of a person’s suitability to work or volunteer with children. It involves an examination of relevant criminal offences and disciplinary findings across a person’s lifetime. A Police Check is only a list of those offences from a person’s national criminal history which can be released.  There is no assessment or investigation made.
Can I fail?

Yes, you will either pass or fail the WWC Check after your suitability to work with children is examined.


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

What is checked?


  • National criminal history
  • findings of professional  bodies including the Victorian Institute of Teaching and the out of home care Suitability Panel
  • relevant determinations of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) under the Health Professions Registration Act 2005.
National criminal history.

What kind of offences are  considered?


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

How long is it valid?


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

Is my criminal record monitored?


Yes. Your criminal record continues to be checked for the life of your card. Victoria Police automatically notifies the department of new relevant offences so your suitability to work with children can be re-assessed. No. A new Police Check is needed to show any new offences.

What happens when I change employer?


The WWC Check card is portable between organisations. However, if you move from voluntary to paid work you must apply for an Employee card and pay the fee. Employers and organisations have their own policies around requiring 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.