Not everyone who has contact with children needs a Working with Children Check (Check).
Under the Working with Children Act 2005 ('the Act'), only people who are doing child-related work and who are not exempt need a Check. This applies to both paid and volunteer workers.
Do I need a Check?
To find out if you need a Check, or if you are exempt, click the button ‘Do I need a Check?’ and answer the questions.
Ministers of religion must be aware of your special obligations under the Act. Please do not click either of the buttons below but read the details under the heading Ministers of religion and child-related work.
Do my workers need a Check?
To determine if a worker in your organisation needs a Check, click the button ‘Do my workers need a Check? and answer the questions.
Religious organisations must be aware of the special obligations under the Act for ministers of religion. Please do not click on either of the buttons below but read the details under the heading Ministers of religion and child-related work.
The Act defines children as anyone under the age of 18.
Child-related work involves contact with a child that is unsupervised, direct and a part of the person’s duties.
Child-related work is an activity undertaken in any of the services, bodies or places referred to in the Act as ‘occupational categories’.
Child-related work for ministers of religion has a different meaning under the Act. Please go to the section below under Ministers of religion and child-related work for full details.
You do not need a Check if you:
- work in an unpaid private/domestic arrangement for family and friends
- supervise a student in practical training organised by their educational institution
- take part in an activity with a child in the same way that a child participates
e.g. as other players in a chess team.
You do need a Check if you meet ALL 6 criteria listed below.
- You are an adult working with under 18 year olds.
- You are working as one of the following:
- an employee
- a self-employed person or an independent contractor
- a volunteer
- a supervisor of child employees (where the child is under 15 years of age) pursuant to the Child Employment Act 2003
- a participant in practical training through an educational or vocational course
- a participant in unpaid community work under a court order
- an officer of a body corporate
- a member of a committee of management of an unincorporated body
- a member of a partnership
- a minister of religion* or someone performing duties of a religious vocation
*Please read ‘Ministers of religion and child-related work’ for full details on the special obligations under the Act for ministers.
3. You are working in any of the occupational fields listed in the Act. Go to Occupational fields for the full list.
4. Your work involves direct contact with children, which means you are able to talk face-to-face or have physical contact with children.
5. Your contact with children is part of your duties i.e. not incidental to your work.
6. Your contact with children is not directly supervised by another person.
Direct supervision means immediate and personal supervision. It is possible for the person supervising the contact with children to leave the room briefly for example to take a phone call.
Supervising children in employment
Under the Child Employment Act 2003, you are doing child-related work if you are supervising a child under the age of 15 in employment so you need a Check. For more information go to Business Victoria.
Who is exempt from the Check?
The Act lists the circumstances in which a person does not need a Check even if they are doing child-related work. For more information, go to Exemptions.
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 of religion 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 checked. This would include having children present in their congregation, or attendance at schools or children’s camps, even when all their contact with children is supervised.
The only time a minister does not require a Check is when any contact with children is only occasional and never a part of the minister’s normal duties. This might occur, for example, for ministers with purely administrative roles within a church’s bureaucracy.
By law, you cannot apply for a Check if you:
- have previously been given a Negative Notice unless:
- you have subsequently passed the Check or
- there is a relevant change in your circumstances in the past five years. For details, go to Failing the Check
- are subject to orders or reporting obligations under the:
- Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004
- Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act 2005
- Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009.