The Working with Children Check (the Check) is a legal requirement for people doing child-related work, unless they qualify for an exemption under the Working with Children Act 2005 ('the Act').
The Check screens a person's criminal record, and in some cases their professional conduct records.
Are you doing child-related work?
In order to do child-related work, you must obtain a Check.
A Check enables you to do child-related work for five years. During this time, your criminal record and in some cases your professional conduct continue to be monitored.
Your Check may be suspended or revoked if:
- you are charged with, convicted, or found guilty of any relevant offence, or
a professional disciplinary report is made against you by one of the professional bodies listed in What is checked.
Are you an organisation engaging people in child-related work?
If you engage people in child-related work, you are legally obliged to ensure these people hold a valid Check. However, you must assess the suitability of people you want to work with or care for children in a particular role. The Check does not do this.
The Check is just one of your responsibilities in creating and maintaining child-safe environments. For more information, go to Commission for Children and Young People.
If you are a religious organisation, you must ensure that all ministers of religion pass the 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 direct and unsupervised contact with children. Any contact with children, unless it is only occasional and incidental, is enough to trigger the requirement to get a Check. This includes ministers who have children present in their congregation, or who attend schools or children’s camps, even when all their contact with children is supervised.
For more information, go to Who needs a Check?
Complying with the law
Under the Act, a Check is a requirement for people doing child-related work, and organisations must ensure that people doing child-related work have a valid Check. Penalties apply if you or your organisation fail to comply with the Act. These penalties are substantial, and include fines, imprisonment, and in some cases, both.
The current fine for organisations who fail to comply with the Act is substantial. For more information, go to Organisations’ offences.
How can you help keep children safe?
The Check aims to prevent people who pose a risk to children from working or volunteering with them. The scheme also requires parents and the wider community to help protect children and ensure that:
- organisations that work with or care for children create and maintain child safe environments
- people doing child-related work have a valid Check.