Who needs a Working with Children Check?
You need a Working with Children Check (Check) if you meet all five criteria listed below:
- You engage, or intend to engage, in child-related work as an employee or volunteer.
- You are an adult working with under 18 year olds.
- You are working in any of the occupational fields listed in the Working with Children Act 2005 (the Act). Go to Occupational fields for the full list.
- Your work involves direct contact with children. Direct contact means physical, face-to-face, written, oral or electronic contact.
- Your contact with children is part of your duties and not incidental to your work.
For more information, go to Who needs a Check?
Who is exempt from the Check?
You do not need a Check if you are:
- under 18 years of age.
- a student aged 18 or 19 years old who is doing volunteer work at, or organised by, the educational institution in which you are enrolled.
- a parent volunteering in an activity your child usually participates in.
- closely related to each child in your child-related work. Please note: this exemption does not apply to kinship care. Kinship carers must pass the Check.
- a Victorian or Federal Police Officer.
- a teacher registered with the Victorian Institute of Teaching.
- a visitor from another Australian state or territory doing child related work in Victoria (for a period of up to 30 days within one calendar year).
For more information, go to Exemptions
Do I need a Check if I already have a Police Check?
Yes, if you are engaging in or intending to engage in child-related work.
The Working with Children Check is different to a Police Check. Organisations require the two checks for different purposes.
If you are doing child-related work, you will need to pass the Working with Children Check- even if you have a Police Check.
For more information, go to How is a Police Check different?
What is the difference between an Employee and a Volunteer Check?
Volunteer Checks are only valid for volunteer child-related work. Employee Checks are valid for both paid and volunteer child-related work. By law, you need an Employee Check to do paid child-related work. Both Checks are valid for five years.
A fee applies for Employee Checks. Volunteer Checks are free. For more information, go to fees.
Who cannot work with children?
You must not do child-related work if:
- you have been charged with, convicted, or found guilty of a sexual, violent or drug offence listed in Schedule 3 of the Act
- you have previously been given a Negative Notice
- you are subject to reporting conditions or orders under the:
- Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004
- Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act 2005
- Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009
- your Check has been suspended or you have surrendered it
- you have not applied for a Check, although you do not need to apply if you qualify for an exemption under the Act.
Can I do child-related work without a Check?
No, unless you qualify for an exemption under the Act.
Can I work while my application is processed?
Most people can work with children while their application is processed. However, by law you must not if you:
- have been charged with, convicted, or found guilty of a sexual, violent or drug offence listed in clause 2 of Schedule 3 of the Act
- have been given a Negative Notice in the past
- intend to supervise a child under the age of 15 in employment under the Child Employment Act 2003
- intend to work in a service regulated by the Children’s Services Act 1996 or in an education and care service under the Education and Care Services National Law (Victoria) Act 2010
- 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.
Do I need a Check if, as an adult, I participate in an activity on the same basis as children?
No. This activity is not child-related work as you are participating in an activity on equal footing with children in a group.
Example: Dom is 25 years old. He participates in the local astronomy club that has members of all ages, including children. He does not need a Check.
How can I check the progress of my application?
Go to Check Status to check this.
How do I withdraw my application?
Write to the Department of Justice and Community Safety and request that your application be withdrawn. Please note that if you applied for an Employee Check, the fee you paid is non-refundable. For more information, go to Withdraw your application.
Do I need to apply for a new Check if I change jobs or where I volunteer?
No, your Check is transferrable between jobs and volunteer positions. However, you will need to change your Check type if you are transferring from Volunteer to paid child-related work. You can do this online. For more information, go to Volunteer to Employee Check. Fees apply.
By law, you must also notify the department of your new employer’s or volunteer organisation’s details within 21 days of commencing work with them. Penalties apply if you fail to do so.
How do I update my details?
By law, you must notify the department within 21 days of any changes to personal, contact details or organisation details. Go to MyCheck to make these changes. Penalties apply if you fail to update your details.
You cannot update your name or sex online as you need to provide supporting documents.
For more information go to Update your details.
How do I request a replacement card?
You can replace a stolen, lost or damaged card online. Log in to MyCheck and:
- update your personal, contact and work details
- complete the online replacement card request form
- pay the card replacement fee with a credit card if you have an Employee Check.
How is my information protected?
The Working with Children Act 2005, Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014, and Health Records Act 2001 regulate how the Department of Justice and Community Safety collects and uses personal information.
How does the department use my information?
The department uses your information to:
- identify you
- examine your criminal records and any professional conduct determinations and findings made against you by the professional bodies listed in What is checked
- reassess your eligibility to hold a Check if the department is notified of relevant offences or adverse professional conduct determinations and findings
- contact you about your application or Check.
When will the department request additional information from me?
The department may request additional information from you when:
- your application form is inaccurate or incomplete
- your photo does not meet the specified requirements
- you have failed to provide the correct proof of identity documentation
- you have a criminal history
- an adverse professional conduct determination or finding has been made against you.
If the department’s assessment of your criminal record or professional conduct determinations or findings has indicated that you should not pass or retain your Check, you will be issued with an Interim Negative Notice. At this point, you will be given the opportunity to respond to the Interim Negative Notice in the form of a submission. For further information, go to Interim Negative Notices.
How is the information in my submission used?
Information in your submission cannot be used as evidence against you in a criminal proceeding or a proceeding to impose a penalty. However, the information can be used against you in proceedings for a breach of the Act or a proceeding in respect of false or misleading information in your application or submission.
What happens if I do not provide the information the department requires?
If you refuse or fail to provide the information the department requires:
- your application can be withdrawn by the department
- your Check may be revoked
- the reminder to renew your Check may not reach you.
If you are issued with an Interim Negative Notice and fail to provide your submission by the due date, the department will not consider it and you will automatically be issued with a Negative Notice.
By law, you must notify the department within 21 days of any changes to your personal, contact or organisation/s details. If you do not, penalties apply.
What will the department tell my organisation?
The department is bound by privacy and confidentiality laws, however, the Act requires the department to notify your organisation/s of any interim or final decision made about your application. The department will not provide your organisation/s with the details of your criminal records or professional conduct determinations and findings.
The department must also advise your organisation/s if your Check is suspended or revoked or if you withdraw an application.
If you remove any organisation/s from your records, the department has the power to notify these organisations that you have removed them.
Can I access the information held about me?
You can make a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. You need to describe the documents you would like released and, if required, pay a fee to access this information.
For more information go to the Freedom of Information website.
What happens to my information when it is no longer used?
The information gathered during your Check will be stored and disposed as required by the Public Records Act 1973.
What offences are checked and assessed?
The department screens police records across Australia for relevant offences including sexual, violent or drug offences across a person’s lifetime. For the full list of offences go to List of offences.
The Check also screens for professional conduct determinations and findings by the following bodies:
- the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT)
- the Suitability Panel
- the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) under current and historical health practitioner legislation
- the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) through the reportable Conduct Scheme.
What if I have a criminal record?
When a relevant criminal history or a professional conduct determination or finding is revealed, the department assesses your application using the categories listed in the Working with Children Act 2005 (the Act).
The offences that are relevant to the Check are:
- sexual, violent or drug offences
- any offence that presents an unjustifiable risk to the safety of children
- offences against the Act.
For further information, go to What is checked.
If the screening reveals relevant offences or professional conduct determinations or findings, the department commences a rigorous assessment and can seek additional information from you and other sources. For further information, go to Requests for information.
What happens after I provide the information the department requests?
The department assesses the information to determine if you will pass or fail the Check. When assessing applications, the department considers a range of factors, defined in legislation, before making a decision. For details, go to Application assessment.
Will a copy of my criminal record be sent to the organisations I work or volunteer with?
No. The department will not disclose any details about your criminal record to your organisation/s. If the department issues you with an Interim Negative Notice or Negative Notice, it will send a copy of the Notice to these organisations, but not the details of the matters that led to the Notice being issued.
If you remove any organisation from your records, the department has the power to notify this organisation that you have removed them. It is unlawful not to provide details of all organisations that engage you in child-related work.