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Organisations' offences

The Working with Children Act 2005 (the Act) recognises the duty of care organisations have towards children and imposes penalties for breaching the Act. 

The table below lists the offences, maximum (max) penalties and the circumstances that would excuse a breach of the Act.

In the table, the term ‘employer’ includes all employers, volunteer organisations, agencies and self-employed people doing child-related work.

The term ‘worker’ refers to a person engaged to undertake paid or volunteer child-related work.

 

Offences Exceptions/defences Max penalty for individuals* Max penalty for organisations & self-employed* Section reference in the Act

Engaging or continuing to engage a person in child-related work who does not hold a valid Working with Children Check.

 

  • If the worker does not need a Check because they are exempt under the Act.
  • If the worker has applied for a Check and their application is being processed and they are not prohibited from working whilst being assessed due to their serious criminal record.

Tip: check the status of their application, and their work rights, on the website at Check status.

  • If you were in the process of transferring the worker, to work that is not child-related work, or you were in the process of lawfully terminating them.
  • If you directly engaged the worker to undertake child-related work with your child, whether or not it involved direct contact with other children.
  • If VCAT had stayed a Negative Notice issued to the worker, pending their appeal.
  • If you did not know, but took all reasonable steps to know, that the worker did not have a Check.

 

Two years imprisonment, or a fine of 240 penalty units* or both. A fine of 1200 penalty units*. 35
Offering the services of any person who does not hold a Check, to another person or organisation, for the purpose of doing child-related work.
  • If the worker does not need a Check because they are exempt under the Act.
  • If the worker has applied for a Check and their application is being processed and they are not prohibited from working whilst being assessed due to their serious criminal record.

Tip: check the status of their application, and their work rights, on the website at Check status.

  • If VCAT had stayed the effect of a Negative Notice issued to the worker.
  • If you did not know the work was child-related work, and you did not know the worker did not have a Check, and the other person or organisation did not know the worker did not have a Check.
Two years imprisonment, or a fine of 240 penalty units* or both. A fine of 1200 penalty units*. 36
Giving any person, directly or indirectly, any information acquired from a Check, including information obtained from the worker or from the Department of Justice and Regulation.
  • The information was given in good faith for the purpose of the Act, or for a reference check, or for making employment related decisions.
  • The worker gave written authority to release information.
  • It was given in the course of legal proceedings, or pursuant to a court or tribunal order.
  • It was given to enable the investigation or the enforcement of laws in Australia.
  • It was given to any person or body that has the same powers or functions as the Chief Commission of Police under the Act.
  • It was given to a lawyer for the purpose of obtaining legal advice or representation.
  • It was given on the authority of another Act.
A fine of 60 penalty units*.   40
Engaging or continuing to engage a person in child-related work for profit or gain if that person has a Volunteer Check.
  • You did not know the worker’s Check was only a Volunteer Check, or
  • You did not know that the work the worker was engaging in was for profit or gain.

 

A fine of five penalty units*.   37 (2)
Failing to provide information to the Department of Justice and Regulation pursuant to s41A of the Act within the specified time

You have a reasonable excuse why you did not provide the information.

If you are a natural person (not a company) a reasonable excuse is if the release of the information would tend to incriminate you.

A fine of 60 penalty units*. A fine of 60 penalty units*. S41A (2)

 

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