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The Working with Children Check (Check) helps protect children from physical and sexual harm. It does this by screening people’s criminal records and professional conduct, and by preventing those who pose an unjustifiable risk to children from working with or caring for them.

Passing a Check is a legal requirement for everyone in Victoria doing paid or voluntary child-related work who doesn’t qualify for an exemption. The Check does not seek to regulate the private relationships of family and friends – only the contact a child has with someone doing child-related work.

The Check is just a starting point. The Check does not assess a person’s suitability to work with or care for children in a particular role. It is the responsibility of organisations to assess paid and voluntary workers’ suitability to work with children and to establish sound, ongoing supervision practices so that children are safe from harm. For more information go to Commission for Children and Young People.

The Working with Children Act 2005 (the Act) creates special obligations for ministers of religion. All ministers of religion are required to get a Check unless the contact they have with children is only occasional and always incidental to their work.

Child-related work for ministers is defined more broadly than for everyone else. For ministers, child-related work is not limited to work involving unsupervised, direct contact with children. By law, any contact with children, unless it is only occasional and incidental, is enough to require the minister to get a Check. This includes ministers, regardless of whether their contact with children is supervised or not, who visit schools, children's camps or have children present in their congregation.

The Act exempts a range of people from the Check including teachers registered with the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) as teachers have already been screened. The exemptions are designed to reduce the administrative burden particularly on voluntary organisations using the Check.

For details, go to Exemptions.

Benefits of the Check

For individuals:

  • Your Check is valid for five years, unless it is suspended or revoked.
  • You do not need to apply for a new Check when you work for another organisation. However, you must notify the Department of Justice and Regulation of any change within 21 days.

For organisations:

  • The Check is a rigorous assessment of an applicant’s criminal records and any reports about professional conduct, preventing those who pose an unjustifiable risk to children from working with or caring for them
  • Workers are obliged to inform you and the department if, during the life of their Check, they are charged with or commit any Category A offence or a Category B offence listed in the Act. These records are also automatically monitored for the life of the Check by the department
  • Workers are legally obliged to inform you of any new adverse professional conduct report made against them by the bodies listed in What is checked. These bodies also notify the department directly of any relevant findings so the department can determine whether the person’s Check should be revoked.
  • A range of exemptions help reduce the administrative burden of the scheme.
  • The validity of a person’s card can be verified at any time using the website’s online service Check status.