Pre-employment screening: Working With Children Checks and Police Checks

Pre-employment screening: Working With Children Checks and Police Checks

CFCA Resource Sheet— May 2016
Pre-employment screening: Working with children checks and police checks

This document is divided into two parts:

The information provided in this publication is to be used as a guide only. Individuals are encouraged to check the currency of any information that is provided by contacting relevant departments or organisations. All enquiries about obtaining Working With Children Checks (WWCC) and Police Checks should be made to the state or territory government department responsible.

Each day, children across Australia come into contact with a variety of organisations such as schools, child care centers, hospitals, religious institutions, and sports and recreation clubs. There is no single national framework setting out the requirements for obtaining Working With Children Checks or Police Checks. Instead, all states and territories have introduced legislation providing for child-related employment pre-screening and it is necessary to fulfil the requirements in the jurisdiction(s) in which you are working.

The development and implementation of policy and legislation that provides for the pre-employment screening of adults who work or volunteer in child-related organisations is an important strategy for creating and maintaining child-safe organisations. However, it is by no means sufficient. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recently examined the individual schemes operating in Australia and found them to be inconsistent and complex. The report highlighted several issues including inadequate mechanisms for sharing information and monitoring WWCCs across jurisdictions; the non-transferability of WWCCs across jurisdictions; and the inability of screening agencies to access WWCC decisions in other jurisdictions (Commonwealth of Australia, 2015).

For other strategies to ensure organisations are child-safe see Child Maltreatment in Organisations: Risk Factors and Strategies for Prevention (Ireny, Bromfield, Beyer, & Higgins, 2006) .

Authors and Acknowledgements

This paper was updated by Kathryn Goldsworthy, Research Officer with the Child Family Community Australia information exchange at the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Previous editions have been compiled by Debbie Scott, Veronica Meredith, Claire Berlyn, Prue Holzer, Daryl Higgins and Nick Richardson.

The feature image is by Josh Blair, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Publication details

CFCA Resource Sheet
Published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, May 2016.
Last updated May 2016

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