After you’ve applied for a Working with Children (WWC) Check in Victoria, we’ll start processing your information and assess your application to determine whether you will pass the Check or not.
How long does it take?
Generally, applications take 3-12 weeks to process. This is due to the extensive National Criminal History Check where we look for offences that may indicate a risk to the safety of children.
Applications may take less than this time if the Check comes back with no criminal history. In this instance, an applicant passes the Working with Children (WWC) Check. If there is an offence history, we will investigate if there is a risk to the safety of children. These applications will take longer to process.
Please note that if you have a common name, the National Criminal History Check may take longer because there are more possible name matches.
Can I work while my application is being processed?
Most people can do child-related work after their application has been lodged and while it is being processed. However, you can’t if you:
- have been charged with, found guilty, or convicted of a sexual, violent or drug offence listed in clause 2 of Schedule 5 of the Worker Screening Act 2020 (the Act)
- have previously been given a WWC Exclusion by us (more information on this below), unless you then subsequently received a Clearance
- have applied for the Check and are supervising a child under the age of 15 in employment under the Child Employment Act 2003
- have applied for a Check and are working in an education and care service under the Children’s Services Act 1996 or in an education and care service under the Education and Care Services National Law (Victoria) Act 2010
- have been excluded from child-related work interstate
- are subject to:
- reporting obligations under the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004
- a supervision order, detention order or emergency detention order.
Some organisations need their workers to pass the Check before starting child-related work. Check if this is the case with your organisation.
How do I know if I’ve passed the Check?
If you pass the Check and receive a Clearance, we’ll let you know by email and you’ll receive a card in the mail within two weeks.
The Working with Children Check Clearance allows you to do child-related work for five years, unless it is surrendered or revoked. Your Check may also be suspended or revoked if you are charged with or found guilty of an offence, or if a professional conduct finding is made against you.
Show your card to every organisation that engages you in child-related work. We’ll continue to monitor your criminal record and relevant professional conduct findings for the life of your card.
What does my card look like?
The card will display your:
- card number
- card type
- card expiry date
What should I do with my card before I start child-related work?
You should show your Working with Children Check card or approved application receipt to every organisation that you will do child-related work with before you start work. They can view the status of your application online to see if you’ve applied or have already passed the Check by visiting Application status.
Both you and any organisations engaging you in child-related work are responsible for making sure that:
- you have applied for the Check; and
- you are legally permitted to do child-related work while your application is being processed.
What if I get a request for more information?
There are situations where we might need to get some more information from you in order to process your application, for example 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 previously been charged with an offence
- you have previously failed to pass the Check
- an adverse professional conduct finding has been made against you
- we consider further information is needed from the information you have provided or the information provided by other sources.
We might also seek additional information about you from other sources when assessing your application, including:
- state, territory and federal police forces
- courts, tribunals and prosecuting authorities
- authorised screening agencies
- health treating professionals
- government agencies
- professional registration or disciplinary bodies
- employers and other organisations.
If you fail to respond to our request within 28 days, or any longer period we specify in the request, your application will be withdrawn.
What if I fail the Check?
If your application is a category A application, you will be given an Interim WWC Exclusion.
If your application is a category B or C application – and we determine that giving you a Check would pose an unjustifiable risk to the safety of children, having regard to the factors set out in the Act – you will also be given an Interim WWC Exclusion.
If you are given an Interim WWC Exclusion on a category A application, you will have the opportunity to explain why you believe you should be given a WWC Clearance and respond to the information we have about you that has caused us to give you the Interim WWC Exclusion.
If you fail the Check you will be given a WWC Exclusion, which means you can’t do child-related work, effective from the date listed on the notice.
A copy of your WWC Exclusion is sent to all organisations you have listed with us, but they are not told of the reason for the WWC Exclusion. By law, you must (in writing) tell all organisations where you do child-related work about the WWC Exclusion within seven days of being given notice of the WWC Exclusion.
If you get a WWC Exclusion, you can’t apply for a Check again for five years, from the date of the notice, unless your circumstances change. If you apply after this time, by law you must not do any child-related work until you pass the Check.
If you receive a WWC Exclusion, in limited circumstances and within 28 days of the date of the notice, you may apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to review the decision to give you the WWC Exclusion. You may not apply to VCAT for a review of the decision if you have at any time been charged with, convicted or found guilty of a category A offence and were an adult at the time of the offence or alleged offence.
What if my circumstances change?
If any of your circumstances change – including any personal details such as, your name, address, phone number or organisation’s information – you must update them online with us within 21 days after becoming aware of the change.
You must also let us and your organisation or employer know (in writing) within seven days if any of the following circumstances occur:
- a professional disciplinary decision is made against you
- you are charged with, convicted, or found guilty of a category A or category B offence listed in Schedule 2 or 4 of the Act
- you become subject to reporting obligations under the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004
- you become subject to a supervision, detention or emergency detention order
- you are given an NDIS exclusion
- you are excluded from child-related work interstate
This obligation to inform us continues even after you pass the Check while you hold a WWC Clearance.
Once you get your Working with Children Check card, there are things you need to know as a cardholder.