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How is a Police Check different?

The Working with Children Check (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 are not exempt, you must have a Check even if you already have a Police Check.

The Check by the Department of Justice and Community Safety determines if a person poses an unjustifiable risk to the safety of children. The Check screens a person’s criminal records and, in some cases, their professional conduct determinations and findings from prescribed bodies listed in the Act. The Check focuses on serious sexual, violent and drug offences. For details, go to List of offences. The department continues to monitor these records for the life of each card.

The Police Check is not an assessment by a government agency. It is only a list of some offences, at a given point in time. 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 for a role with access to cash.


  Working with Children Check Police Check
Does it allow me to work or volunteer with children? Yes, passing a Check allows you to engage in child-related work for five years while your criminal record continues to be monitored. No.
How does it work? The Check is a screening process that examines serious criminal charges, offences, findings of guilt and professional conduct determinations and findings 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 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 determinations and findings from prescribed bodies listed in the Act, including the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT),the Suitability Panel and the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) through the Reportable Conduct Scheme.
National criminal records.

What kind of offences are included?


Offences relevant to the safety of children, such as serious sexual, violent or drug crimes. This includes all offences ( regardless of the court outcome), even if the offences are pending. All types of offences that you have been convicted or found guilty of, as well as any pending charges.
How far back does each 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 each check valid for?


Five 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 card. 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 card. No. A new Police Check is needed to show any new offences.

What happens when I change organisations?


If you pass, your card is valid for five years unless the department suspends or revokes it. The 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 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.