These definitions explain common terms used by the Working with Children Check (Check) scheme and their general meanings under the Working with Children Act 2005 (the Act). For legal definitions, see the Act.
A person or organisation that recruits workers for child-related services.
Evidence, in the form of a card, that you have passed the Check and can undertake child-related work. For details, go to Passing the Check.
A person under 18 years of age.
The Victorian Child Protection Service is specifically targeted to children and young people at risk of harm where families are unable or unwilling to protect them. The main functions of the service are to:
- investigate matters where it is alleged that a child is at risk of harm
- refer children and families to services that assist in providing the ongoing safety and wellbeing of children
- take matters before the Children’s Court if the child’s safety cannot be ensured within the family
- supervise children on legal orders granted by the Children’s Court
- provide and fund accommodation services, specialist support services, and adoption and permanent care to children and adolescents in need.
Child-related work is work in either a voluntary or paid capacity, in any of the occupational fields listed in the Act where contact with a child is direct and part of a person’s duties.
For details, go to Who needs a Check?
Child-related work 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.
For ministers, child-related work is not limited to work involving direct contact with children; any contact with children is enough to trigger the requirement to get checked. For example, ministers who have children present in their congregation, or attend schools or children’s camps are required to hold a Check.
For details, go to Who needs a Check?
Organisations that care or provide services for children must provide safe environments. The Check is just one part of creating and maintaining a child-safe environment. The Check screens criminal history and professional conduct determinations and findings, but does not assess a person’s suitability to work with children. Organisations must decide if a worker is suitable for a particular role and continue to monitor their behaviour around children.
The child-safe standards are compulsory minimum standards for organisations that provide services for children to help protect children from abuse. The standards aim to drive cultural change in organisations so that protecting children from abuse is embedded in the everyday thinking and practice of leaders, staff and volunteers. The Commission for Children and Young People is the oversight body for the Child Safe Standards.
The Department of Justice and Community Safety.
A court order made under the Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009 which provides for the continued detention of serious sex offenders.
Having physical, face-to-face, written, oral or electronic contact with a child.
Providers of study or training for people under the age of 18 years, specifically:
- state schools, including primary, secondary, technical and special state schools
- non-government schools including primary, secondary and special non-government schools
- TAFE colleges and universities with a TAFE division providing subjects for the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) and Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL)
- adult education providers offering VCE and VCAL subjects
- other institutions providing children’s study or training.
A situation listed in the Act where people doing child-related work do not need a Check. For details, go to Exemptions.
Extended supervision order
A court order made under the Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act 2005 which requires extended supervision of serious sex offenders.
Accommodation services specifically provided for students as part of a student exchange program under Part 4.5A of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006, including accommodation in the person’s home.
Interim Negative Notice
If the department determines an applicant or a cardholder should not be allowed to work with children, it issues them with an Interim Negative Notice indicating the intention to issue a Negative Notice. An Interim Negative Notice allows the person to respond to the information the department intends to use in its final decision.
Kinship care is the care provided by relatives or other person of significance to a child when a child cannot live with their parents. It specifically relates to care arrangements where a Children’s Court order has been made, and/or Child Protection has assessed and approved a specific carer to care for a specific child under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005.
Minister of religion
A minister of religion is:
- A person ordained or appointed as a recognised religious leader in an organised religious institution; or
- The appointed leader of a local religious congregation in an organised religious institution who has general authority over the operations of that congregation within the institution.
If a person fails the Check, the department issues them with a Negative Notice, which prohibits them from doing child-related work, even if they are supervised or qualify for an exemption. For details, go to Failing the Check.
A charge that has been dealt with other than by way of conviction or a finding of guilt. This includes circumstances where:
- a charge has been withdrawn
- a charge has been dismissed by the court
- a person is discharged by a court following a committal hearing
- a charge has been dismissed after the completion of a diversion program
- a conviction has been quashed on appeal
- a charge has led to an acquittal.
A service, body, place, or activity where child-related work can occur.
For the full list, see Occupational fields.
Private or domestic arrangement
An agreement between family and friends that involves no payment. These arrangements are not regarded as child-related work. The Check does not apply to private or domestic arrangements.
Bodies that regulate certain professions, like the Victorian Institute of Teaching. When assessing an applicant or a cardholder, the department can consider professional conduct determinations and findings by the bodies named in the Act in addition to criminal records. For details, see What is checked.
See 'Professional bodies' above.
A relevant finding is a decision, report or determination made about a person’s professional conduct by the following professional bodies:
- Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT)
- Suitability Panel
- Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) under the current and historical health practitioner legislation
- the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) through the Reportable Conduct Scheme.
Example: the cancellation of a teacher’s registration.
‘Reportable conduct’ is defined in the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 (as amended by the Children Legislation Amendment (Reportable Conduct) Act 2017) to include:
- a sexual offence committed against, with or in the presence of a child
- sexual misconduct committed against, with or in the presence of a child
- physical violence committed against, with or in the presence of a child
- any behaviour that causes significant emotional or psychological harm to a child
- significant neglect of a child.
Reportable conduct scheme
The reportable conduct scheme oversees how organisations prevent and respond to allegations of child abuse and misconduct. Administered in Victoria by the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP), the scheme requires some organisations to report allegations made against a worker or volunteer from their organisation to the CCYP.
The Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 imposes obligations on serious sex offenders living in the community to regularly report various personal details to Victoria Police.
Student exchange services
Accommodation services specifically provided for students as part of a student exchange program under Part 4.5A of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006, including accommodation in the person’s home such as a homestay arrangement.
When the department issues an applicant or cardholder with an Interim Negative Notice, they have the opportunity to explain why they should pass the Check. A written submission to the department is usually required.
Under the Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009, courts can issue an order for a serious sex offender to be supervised.