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Individuals' offences

The Working with Children Act 2005 (the Act) and the Working with Children Regulations 2016 (the Regulations) aim to assist in protecting children from physical and sexual harm.

If you do paid or voluntary child-related work, you must have a Check.

There are substantial penalties if you breach your obligations under the Act or Regulations.

The table below lists the offences and the maximum penalties for each.

 

Offences Defence/exception Max penalty* Section reference in the Act or Regulations

Engaging in child-related work if you do not have a Check.

Knowing that the work is child-related work, and that you do not have a Check.

You may work while your application is being assessed, only if:

  • you have not been given a Negative Notice, and
  • you are not subject to reporting obligations or orders under the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004, the Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act 2005, or the Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009, and
  • you have not been charged with, convicted or found guilty of a serious sexual, violent or drug offence specified in clause 2 of Schedule 3 of the Act

If an exemption applies to you, you may work in your chosen occupational field only if:

  • you have not been given a negative notice; and
  • you are not subject to reporting obligations or orders under the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004, the Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act 2005, or the Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009.

If you are engaging in work as a volunteer, or undertaking practical training, it is a defence to the charge if your employer has been notified of your negative notice and is in the process of transferring you to non-child-related work, or in the process of lawfully terminating your employment.

If you have applied to VCAT for a Check, and been granted a stay whilst your appeal is pending.

If you are engaging in child-related work that is kinship care, and you have applied for a Check within 21 days of becoming a kinship carer.

Two years imprisonment, or a fine of 240 penalty units* or both. 33 (1)
Using a false card or another person’s card when you are applying for or doing child-related work.   Two years imprisonment, or a fine of 240 penalty units* or both. 38
Using a Volunteer Check to do paid work.
  • You did not know that your Check was only a Volunteer Check, or
  • You did not know that the work you were engaging in was for profit or gain.
A fine of five penalty units*. 37 (1)
Providing false or misleading information to the Department of Justice and Regulation in your application for a Check or when the department is reassessing your eligibility to hold a Check

You believed on reasonable grounds that:

  • The information provided was true; or
  • The information provided was not misleading
Two years imprisonment, or a fine of 240 penalty units* or both. 39 (1)

Applying for a Check when you are subject to reporting obligations or orders under the:

  • Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004
  • Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act 2005
  • Serious Sex Offenders (Supervision and Detention) Act 2009.
  Two years imprisonment or a fine of 240 penalty units*. 39A

Failing to notify your organisation/s and the department, in writing within seven days of a relevant change in circumstances.

A relevant change in circumstances is if:

  • you are charged with an offence listed in Schedule 1 or 2 of the Act
  • you are convicted or found guilty of an offence listed in Schedule 1 or 2 of the Act, or the charge has been finally dealt with
  • you are subject to reporting obligations or orders under the:
    • Sex Offenders Registrations Act 2004
    • Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act 2005
    • Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009

a relevant professional conduct determination or finding is made against you by one of the bodies listed under regulation 8.

It is a defence to a charge of failing to notify the department of how your charge has been finally dealt with if you can prove that:

  • you notified the department of the filing of the charge sheet; and
  • the department re-assessed your eligibility to have a Check, and
  • your Check was revoked following the re-assessment, and
  • the charge was finally dealt with other than by a finding of guilty.

 

A fine of 60 penalty units*. 20

Failing to notify the department of a change in your organisation/employer’s details within 21 days of becoming aware of the change.

This includes changes in the following details:

  • name of organisation/employer
  • address, and
  • telephone number
  A fine of one penalty unit*. 20A

Failing to notify the department within 21 days of any changes to your:

  • full name, and any other names you are currently or have been known by
  • date of birth
  • residential address
  • phone numbers
  • details of the organisations where you are doing child-related work.
  A fine of one penalty unit*. Regulation 11

If you have been given a Negative Notice it is an offence to apply for or engage in child-related work

You did not know the work you were applying for was child-related work, 

OR

You have applied to VCAT for an assessment notice and been granted a stay.

Two years imprisonment, a fine of 240 penalty units* or both. 34 (1)
Failing to notify your organisation/employer in writing, of an Interim Negative Notice, or Negative Notice issued to you by the department, within 7 days of being given the notice.   A fine of 60 penalty units*. 22
Failing to surrender your card or other Check documents, if requested to do so by the department upon the revocation of your card You have a reasonable excuse why you did not surrender the requested documents. A fine of 60 penalty units*. 21C (5)
Failing to surrender your first card within in 7 days, in circumstances where you have applied for and been given another card, and you have been directed to surrender your first card You have a reasonable excuse why you did not surrender the first card. A fine of one penalty unit*. 24 (3)

If the Teacher exemption applies to you

Failing to notify in writing any organisation that engages you in child-related work, of any suspension or cancellation  of your registration within seven days of receiving notice of the suspension or cancellation

  A fine of 60 penalty units*. 30 (2)

If the Police officer exemption applies to you

Failing to notify in writing any organisation that engages you in child-related work, of any suspension, dismissal or termination of your job as a police officer under the Victoria Police Act 2013, or Australian Federal Police Act 1979, within 7 days of receiving notice of the suspension, dismissal, or termination.

  A fine of 60 penalty units*.

31 (2) and

31A (2)

Failing to provide information requested by the department pursuant to s 41A of the Act within the period specified You have a reasonable excuse why you did not comply with the request, including if the information would incriminate you A fine of 60 penalty units*. 41A (2)

 

*To view the monetary value of penalty units go to Fees.