The Working with Children 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 determinations and findings.
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 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 conduct determination or finding is made against you, or referred to the Department of Justice and Community Safety 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.
You must comply with the Child Safe Standards that have been introduced as part of the Victorian Government's response to the Betrayal of Trust Inquiry. These are compulsory minimum standards under the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 that apply to organisations that provide services for children. The standards help ensure the safety of children. Organisations must also comply with the Reportable conduct scheme requirements that came into effect on 1 July 2017. For more information go to Commission for Children and Young People.
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.