Pre-employment screening: Working With Children Checks and Police Checks
This document is divided into two parts:
- Part A provides an overview of the types of Working With Children Checks and Police Checks that operate in Australia.
- Part B provides details about the requirements for working with children in Australian states and territories, as well as state/territory contact information.
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) .
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.
Part A: Overview
This resource is intended to provide an overview of the types of screening schemes that operate in Australia for child-related work. State/territory legislative provisions and information about risk assessments are also discussed.
Police check and child safety screening programs
There are three types of screening programs operating in Australia.
The first, in South Australia, has an employer-driven system that makes it mandatory for employers in relevant fields to carry out background checks on prospective employees or volunteers.1 This system provides a "point-in-time" background check and individuals must undergo screening each time they enter into a child-related position.
The second and most common type of screening program in operation is individual based. It offers certification to engage in child-related work to individuals (Qld, NSW, Vic., WA and the NT). These certifications are valid for a period of time (e.g., 3 years in WA) and provide for ongoing monitoring of an individual's suitability for child-related work. This means that if a relevant criminal offence is committed during the validity of the check, or if the individual is subject to relevant work-related disciplinary procedures, the administering authority may inform employers of the offence, and alter or withdraw an individual's entitlement to work with children. Individuals can also carry their certification between positions and do not have to undergo repeated screening while their Working With Children Check is valid.
The third type of screening program is the Working with Vulnerable People Background Check operating in the ACT which is a mix of the two. It provides three types of certification based on the eligibility of individual applicants. The "general certification" provides for the same conditions to engage in child-related work as found in individual screening checks discussed above, including a 3-year certification period, ongoing monitoring, and mobility between role positions. The second type of certification is role-based. Similar to the point-in-time background check, this certification restricts individuals to engaging in specified regulated activities with a stated employer. The role-based certification cannot be moved freely between regulated activities. The third type of registration is conditional, imposing specific conditions on an individual's registration.
Table 1 outlines the relevant legislation in each state and territory and explains the type of system in place in each.
|Jurisdiction||Act||Type of program|
|ACT||Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act 2011 (ACT)||The ACT Working with Vulnerable People Background Check requires that individuals engaging in regulated activities or services, including where these are provided to children, must be registered. A statutory Screening Unit within the Office of Regulatory Services, Justice and Community Safety Directorate is responsible for applications for registration. The registration is valid for 3 years and is subject to ongoing monitoring. There are three types of registration administered to individuals under the Working with Vulnerable People Background Check: general registration, which is transferable across all roles and organisations; role-based registration; and conditional registration.|
|NSW||Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 (NSW)||The NSW Working With Children Check that came into effect 15 June 2013 has resulted in a move from an employer driven "point-in-time" system to a system where individuals, including volunteers, are responsible for their own application for certification. Employers operating within a child-related industry are required to register online with the NSW Office of the Children's Guardian and to subsequently conduct online verification of new paid employees clearance. Existing paid workers and all volunteers (new and current) also need to have clearance validated online as they are phased in to the new check system. The check is valid for 5 years and subject to ongoing monitoring.|
|NT||Care and Protection of Children Act 2007 (NT)||Individuals are required to apply for a Working With Children Check, known as an "Ochre Card" in the NT. The Ochre Card, which is also known as a Clearance Notice is valid for 2 years, and applies to employers and volunteers in child-related employment settings.|
|QLD||Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 (Qld)||Individuals are required to apply for a Working With Children Check, known as a "Blue Card" in Queensland. Valid for 3 years, Blue Cards entitle individuals to engage in child-related occupations/volunteering. Organisations providing child-related services must also have policies and procedures in place to identify and minimise risk of harm to children, which are monitored by the Public Safety Business Agency.|
|SA||Children's Protection Act 1993 (SA)||The South Australian system is an employer driven point-in-time system requiring employers and responsible authorities to obtain National Police Checks and conduct wider screening assessment for those engaging in child-related occupations/volunteering.|
|TAS||Registration to Work with Vulnerable People Act 2013 (Tas.)||
The Registration to Work with Vulnerable People Act 2013 came into effect on 1 July 2014. The Act will be phased in over 3 years beginning July 2014, replacing the Good Character Check screening program. Child services will be the first sector required to make the transition to the new regulations.
Individuals who work or volunteer in the child care or other child-related sectors are required to apply for a Working with Children Check. Registrations are valid for 3 years or as determined by the Registrar.
|VIC||Working With Children Act 2005 (Vic.)||Individuals are required to apply for a Working With Children Check. Valid for 5 years, the check entitles individuals to engage in child-related occupations/volunteering and practical training.|
|WA||Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004 (WA)||Individuals are required to apply for a Working With Children Check. Valid for 3 years, the check entitles individuals to engage in child-related occupations/volunteering.|
For a more detailed description of the state/territory requirements for obtaining a Working with Children Check, see Part B: State and Territory Requirements .
Professional registration and child safety policy development
In addition to child-related employment legislation, all states and territories have legislation that requires people who wish to register in certain occupations (e.g., teachers, doctors or childcare workers) to be screened for criminal offences. This means that even if child-related employment legislation did not exist there are still requirements for adults working in certain occupations to undergo screening (e.g., the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 [Vic.]; the Medical Practitioners Registration Act 2001 [Qld]; the Child Care Act 2001 [Tas.]). Where registration requirements require screening, certain persons are exempt from Working With Children Check requirements (e.g., in Victoria, persons registered under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006).
Organisations may also have developed their own policies that require employees and volunteers to undergo criminal record checks. State and territory police provide criminal history checks to individuals and organisations wishing to obtain Police Checks for employment, voluntary work and occupation-related licensing or registration purposes.
The difference between a Police Check and a Working With Children Check
Police Checks identify and release relevant criminal history information relating to convictions, findings of guilt or pending court proceedings. However, due to spent conviction/non-disclosure legislation and information release policies, there are limitations on the information a Police Check can provide (e.g., the Spent Convictions Scheme stipulates that prior convictions are not to be disclosed where 10 years have passed from the date of the conviction).
As the object of a Working With Children Check is to make an assessment of the level of risk an individual poses to children's safety, Working With Children Checks are more extensive, but also more targeted than Police Checks. For example, Working With Children Checks draw together information from various sources, but may include a primary focus on certain types of offences (e.g., sexual offences, offences related to the harm or mistreatment of a child). In general, Working With Children Checks give consideration to:
- convictions - whether or not they are considered spent or were committed by a juvenile;
- apprehended violence orders and other orders, prohibitions or reporting obligations;
- charges (i.e., where a conviction has not been recorded because, for example, a proceeding has not been heard or finalised by a court, or where charges have been dismissed or withdrawn);
- any relevant allegations or police investigations involving the individual; and
- relevant employment proceedings and disciplinary information from professional organisations (e.g., organisations associated with teachers, childcare service providers, foster carers, and health practitioners).
Across the five jurisdictions that currently carry out Working With Children Checks (NSW, NT, Qld, Vic., and WA) and the ACT and Tas., which carry out a Working with Vulnerable People Background Check, there are differences in what information is considered and what sources of information are drawn upon. Table 2 provides a comparison of the information considered in Working With Children Checks and the Working with Vulnerable People Background Check across these jurisdictions.
|ACT||The Vulnerable People Background Check is comprised of:
|NSW||The Working With Children Check is comprised of:
Consideration of relevant employment proceedings, reportable conduct, any sexual offences or sexual misconduct, committed against, with or in the presence of a child, including a child pornography offence; any child-related personal violence offence; any assault, ill treatment or neglect of a child; any behaviour that causes psychological harm to a child; or an act of violence committed by an employee in the course of employment and in the presence of a child. As part of an additional risk assessment, the Children's Guardian may give consideration to a range of different factors regarding previous matters that triggered the risk assessment. The Children's Guardian may also consider any other matters deemed necessary for an assessment to be made.
A "reasonable person test" has recently been introduced. This means that a Working With Children clearance or enabling order cannot be granted unless the Guardian or Tribunal respectively is satisfied that a reasonable person would allow his or her child to have direct contact with the affected person who was not directly supervised.
|NT||The Working with Children (Ochre Card) Clearance Screening is comprised of:
|QLD||The Blue Card screening system is comprised of:
|SA||Under the Children's Protection Regulations 2010, the Department of Communities and Social Inclusion provides a wider screening assessment which includes:
|TAS||The Working with Children Check obtains applicants' national criminal histories from sources in Australia. This includes information about:
|VIC||The Working With Children Check is comprised of:
In addition, the following individuals are ineligible to apply for a Working with Children Check:
|WA||The Working With Children Check considers:
* Class 1 and 2 offences include various sexual offences against a child as well as offences such as murder, manslaughter, grievous bodily harm, indecent assault, making/viewing child pornography and involvement in child prostitution and other offences.
Screening helps to prevent people with a known history of violent and abusive behaviour gaining access to children through organisations. However, screening alone is not sufficient (e.g., it is limited to identifying known perpetrators) and needs to be coupled with interviews, thorough reference checks, policy development for child-safe environments, and robust accountability frameworks for responding to allegations.
1 SA's screening relates only to Police Checks, rather than a Working with Children Check
Part B: State and territory requirements
All states and territories have introduced legislation providing for child-related employment pre-screening, and there are important differences across jurisdictions. This resource sheet is intended to provide an overview of the types of screening programs that are in place, what records are checked, and who is required to undergo screening.
Who must undergo pre-employment child safety screening?
As of June 2013, all jurisdictions in Australia have some form of child-related employment pre-screening legislation. These laws make it mandatory for certain individuals engaged in occupations such as education and childcare, child protection, child and family welfare, health, entertainment and recreation, and religious instruction to meet screening requirements. There are differences across the states and territories in who is required to undergo screening, and how different occupations are identified. If you are unsure whether you need to obtain a Working With Children Check, it is advisable that you check with the relevant body in your state or territory. State and territory contact details are provided in the following section, as is a summary of requirements for each jurisdiction.
For information about the differences between Police Checks and Working With Children Checks, refer to Part A: Overview.
Is my pre-employment screening transferable between states?
It is important to note that the Working with Children Clearance Checks, Working with Vulnerable People Background Checks and Good Character Checks are not transferable between states and territories. Organisations or individuals that work or volunteer with children across state or territory boundaries need to ensure that the appropriate clearance checks and screenings are obtained for each separate jurisdiction. A nationally consistent approach is being progressed under the National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children 2009-2014. The National framework lists this approach as action under Outcome 2 "Children and families access adequate support to promote safety and intervene early". A Working with Children Checks Working Group has been formed to inform the national alignment, however, they have noted that a national approach to legislation will not necessarily protect all children and that such screening practices and processes must sit in a broader organisational environment determined to ensure the safety of children (Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, 2011).
Criminal history checks between Australia and New Zealand
In February 2015, Australia and New Zealand signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to give employers greater trans-Tasman access to individual criminal history checks for employment, training and registration purposes. Under the new MoU, eligible New Zealand agencies will have the ability to make requests through New Zealand Police for Australian criminal information from CrimTrac. Similarly, eligible Australian agencies may request criminal history information from New Zealand Police.
Requirements in Australian states and territories
Australian Capital Territory
The Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act 2011 (ACT), enacted on 8 November 2012, requires people aged 16 years and over who have contact with vulnerable people while engaging in regulated activities and services to register with the Office of Regulatory Services. Phases 1-3 of the scheme required individuals working in the following services to be registered by November 2015: child protections services, justice facilities for children, childcare services, child education services, child accommodation services, counseling and support services for children, commercial services for children, religious organisations, community services, disability services, respite care services, services to homeless people, victims of crime, coaching and tuition, vocational and educational training, and activities or services provided by clubs, associations or movements (e.g., sports clubs), migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
Phase 4 is underway until November 2016. During this time the Act will be reviewed. Individuals working or volunteering with other groups of vulnerable people will need to register between years 5 and 6 of the scheme's operation.
- Phase 5 will be implemented between 8 November 2016 - 7 November 2017 with workers and employees providing public or private transport, housing and accommodation services, and emergency services.
- Phase 6 will be implemented between 8 November 2017 - 7 November 2018 for the following services: mental health; justice facilities; and services for addictions.
Individuals are responsible for making their own applications through Access Canberra. A background check and risk assessment will be conducted prior to registration and requires applicants to provide information on their criminal history, all non-conviction information and any other relevant information. The type of registration issued will be the most general type of registration for which an applicant is eligible. Three types of registration are currently issued:
- general registration - allows individuals to move between all regulated activities for up to 3 years without the need to reapply;
- conditional registration - imposes specific conditions on an individual's registration, for example, not being able to transport vulnerable people due to a person's license being cancelled as a result of drink driving offences; and
- role-based registration - restricts individuals to engaging in specified regulated activities with a stated employer and cannot be moved freely between regulated activities.
Services contracted to government have a contractual obligation to employ "fit and proper" people. This has been interpreted as a requirement to obtain a National Police Check.
Residents of the ACT can take a simple online test to determine if they are required to register. In addition, the ACT Government Access Canberra website provides further information on how to apply for a background check, including application forms and fees.
Further information about obtaining a National Police Check, including forms and fees can be obtained from the Australian Federal Police.
For enquiries about working with children in the Australian Capital Territory, contact the relevant authority.
Working with Vulnerable People Check
Ph: (02) 6207 3000
National Police Check
|Australian Federal Police
Ph: (02) 6140 6502
New South Wales
The Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 (NSW) came into effect on 15 June 2013 and requires that all employees and volunteers over the age of 18 working in child-related roles hold a Working With Children Check (WWCC) clearance. Employees and volunteers who were engaged in child-related work before 15 June 2013 will be phased into the new WWCC program over a 5-year period based on industry sectors. The phase-in schedule is available on the Office of the Children's Guardian website. A worker with an existing WWC clearance that is due to expire must reapply for a new WWCC and provide the new number to their employer.
Self employed people who hold a Certificate for Self-Employed People (CSEP), as required under the previous legislation, may continue to use their CSEP until it expires. Once the CSEP expires, self-employed people must apply for the Working with Children Check.
Individuals who work face-to-face with children in one of the following child-related industry sectors need to obtain a check: child development and family welfare services, mentoring or counselling services; child protection; children's health services, including in wards of hospitals where children are treated; clubs, associations, movements or other bodies (including cultural, recreational or of a sporting nature) providing programs or services for children; respite care or other support services for children with a disability; early education and child care services, including nanny services; education services such as provided by schools and other education institutions, including private coaching or tuition of children; sporting, cultural or other entertainment venues used primarily by children and entertainment services for children; detention centres and juvenile correctional centres; any religious organisation; residential services including refuges used by children, long-term home stays, boarding houses and overnight camps; transport services for children, including school bus services and taxi services used for children with disabilities; supervision of school road crossings; school cleaners; and youth workers.
In addition the following child-related roles are defined as child-related work: an approved provider or manager of education and care services; a certified supervisor of education and care services; an authorised carer (foster carers and other authorised carers of children in statutory and supported out-of-home care); an assessment officer; the Principal Officer of a designated agency; and the Principal Officer of an accredited adoption service provider.
Prospective adoptive parents and adults who reside for longer than three weeks at the home of an authorised carer, family day care service provider or home-based education and care service provider also require a WWCC.
The NSW Commission for Children and Young People oversees the WWCC program. All applicants are subject to a National Police Check. If findings of misconduct involving children are identified (including offences occurring outside NSW and findings of misconduct reported by a reporting body; or a notification by the Ombudsman) a risk assessment will also be conducted
Applicants precluded from receiving a WWCC include persons convicted of an offence as listed comprehensively in Schedule 2 of the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012. This preclusion applies if the offence was committed as an adult. In addition, if proceedings for an offence listed in Schedule 2 have commenced against a person and the offence was committed as an adult, no WWCC approval will be given until the outcomes of existing proceedings are determined.
Successful applicants will be given clearance to work with children for a 5-year period and issued with a WWCC number. The worker must provide this number to their prospective employer, along with their surname and date of birth for online verification. Employers are responsible for checking the validity of a WWCC prior to engaging any new individual for child-related work. In order to verify the status of a WWCC, employers need to register with the current system. It is mandatory for the employer to conduct an online verification of the WWCC using the unique number provided by the prospective worker. Paper verification is not permitted under this new system; therefore employers cannot accept the worker's notification letter as proof of clearance.
The Office of the Children's Guardian website provides comprehensive information and guidelines for individual applicants, employers and self-employed people, in relation to the Working With Children Check program, including details of the phase-in periods for individual sectors.
For enquiries about working with children in New South Wales, contact the relevant authority.
|Working with Children Check||Office of the Children's Guardian
Ph: (02) 9286 7219
The Care and Protection of Children Act 2007 (NT) came into force in 2008. The Act legislates for screening of employees and volunteers in child-related employment and broadly identifies occupations and activities for which an Ochre Card is required. An Ochre Card is photo ID proof that individuals have passed the Working With Children clearance screening process and received a Clearance Notice. It is the responsibility of the person who wants to work or volunteer with children to apply for the Working With Children Check. As of July 2011, anyone employed or volunteering in child-related work is required by law to hold an Ochre Card. Clearance notices and Ochre Cards are valid for 2 years.
Employees and volunteers aged 15 years and over working in the following areas are required to obtain Working With Children Checks: child protection services; education or care services; education facilities for children; juvenile detention centres; accommodation services for children in private residential premises; refuges or other residential facilities used by children; wards of hospitals or any other facilities for health services in which children are ordinarily patients; clubs, associations or movements (including those that are of a cultural, recreational or sporting nature) with significant child membership or involvement; religious organisations; babysitting or child-minding services; fostering of children; transportation services for children; private tuition services for children; counselling or support services for children; overnight camps for children; road crossing services for school children; sports coaching or sport lessons for children; gym or play facilities, photographic services, talent or beauty competitions and entertainment or party services provided for or arranged for children. The Working With Children Check also applies to members of boards, management committees and partners in businesses that perform work with children (e.g., members of school councils or basketball associations) and anyone performing child-related work as a minister of religion or religious vocation; or a student conducting practical training for an education or training course.
Individuals can download an application form for an Ochre Card through the Northern Territory Government website. Forms are also available from any Northern Territory Police station or from Territory Business Centres located in Darwin, Katherine, Tennant Creek or Alice Springs.
Employers or volunteer coordinators of people who work or volunteer with children are responsible for making sure that the people working or volunteering for them have a valid Working With Children Clearance and to maintain records that show compliance with the Working with Children Check scheme.
For enquiries about working with children in the Northern Territory, contact the relevant authority.
|Working with Children Clearance||Northern Territory Government
Ph: 1800 72 33 68
The Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 (Qld) provides minimum standards for those who work or volunteer with children in broadly identified occupations or activities to undergo screening for criminal offences.
Employees and volunteers including business operators working in the following settings are required to obtain a Blue Card: residential facilities; child accommodation services funded by the Commonwealth or under the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006; school boarding facilities; schools; child care; education and care services; churches, clubs and associations involving children; health counselling and support services that come into contact with children; private teaching, coaching or tutoring; education programs conducted outside of school; child accommodation services including home stays; religious representatives; sport and active recreation activities directed towards or mainly involving children; emergency services cadet program; school crossing supervisors; and the care of children under the Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld). Note that volunteers who are under 18 years of age do not require a Blue Card, however, employees under 18 years of age do require a Blue Card.
The Public Safety Business Agency is responsible for administering the Working With Children Check program, which is known as the Blue Card System. The Blue Card System entails a National Police Check, a review of disciplinary information held by certain professional organisations, and consideration of relevant police investigations. The Blue Card System also provides for ongoing monitoring and notification of changes in Blue Card holders' criminal histories. Blue Cards entitle individuals to work or volunteer in child-related occupations or operate child-related businesses. Blue Cards are valid for 3 years and can be carried between positions by individuals. See Blue Card System website for more information.
Since January 2007, employers and businesses that require employees to have a Blue Card must also have a written risk management strategy in place (Chapter 8, Part 3, Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 (Qld)).
The Public Safety Business Agency provides information about what an organisation's risk management strategy should contain, as well as training about organisational risk management.
For enquiries about working with children in Queensland, contact the relevant authority.
|Working with Children Check||Blue Card Services
Freecall: 1800 113 611
Under the Children's Protection Act 1993 (SA), it is the responsibility of government and non-government employers that provide health, welfare, education, sporting or recreation, religious or spiritual, child care or residential services wholly or partly for children to obtain Police Record Checks for employees, volunteers, agents, contractors and sub-contractors in prescribed positions. Prescribed positions are defined as involving regular contact with children or work in close proximity with children on a regular basis, unless the contact or work is directly supervised at all times; people supervising or managing persons in such positions; persons with access to records relating to children; or persons engaged in any other function prescribed by regulation.
The Children's Protection Act 1993 does not stipulate an age at which criminal history checks are to be obtained. Practice guidelines recommend that all persons (including young people under 18 years of age) be checked. The Act also requires that organisations have a policy framework relating to child safety.
The Department for Communities and Social Inclusion provides a screening and assessment process for employers who have obtained consent from prospective employees or volunteers. Under the Children's Protection Regulations 2010 child-related employment screening takes into consideration a National Criminal Record History provided CrimTrac along with a wider range of information sourced from professional registration bodies and South Australian police, courts and prosecuting authorities. Employers must ensure that assessments are undertaken at least once every 3 years. Further information is available at the department's Screening and Background Checks website.
Police Check application forms can be obtained from the South Australian Police.
For enquiries about working with children in South Australia, contact the relevant authority.
|Child-related employment screening||Department for Communities and Social Inclusion
Ph: 1300 32 15 92
|National Police Check||South Australia Police
Ph: (08) 7322 3347
Between 1 July 2014 and the end of 2016, if a person wants to work or volunteer with children, they might need to apply for a Working with Children Check. The Registration to Work with Vulnerable People Act 2013 came into effect on 1 July 2014. According to this new legislation, employees and volunteers aged 16 and over working in child care services or other child-related services are required to apply for a Working with Children Check.
Registration requirements have been phased in:
- In 2015 - the first year of operation - child care services, religious activities, child related commercial services, coaching or tuitions services; and club or association activities had to register.
- In the second year of operation registration requirements apply to employees and volunteers working in services related to youth justice; child disability; child education (non government); adoption; guardianship; child protection; child accommodations; health, counseling and support for children; transport; and youth workers.
- In the third year of operation registration requirements apply to employees and volunteers working in child education (government); state library; vocational education and training; and emergency services not engaged in emergency management activities.
Any person who wishes to continue to be employed as a teacher must be registered by 1 January 2017.
Risk assessments will be conducted prior to registration to determine the risk of harm. Applicants who receive a positive assessment will receive a general, conditional, or role-based registration. Applicants considered to pose a risk of harm to children will receive a negative assessment and will not be registered.
The status of clearances need to be verified online by employers before a new employee can start work. For existing workers (and volunteers) it is good practice for employers to periodically review workers registration status to ensure they are meeting their obligations under the Act.
Further information on when workers in the child care services and child-related services sectors will be required to be registered for a Working with Children Check can be found on the Tasmanian Government's Department of Justice website. Information regarding Working with Children Checks and how to apply is also available on the Department of Justice website.
Additionally, government and non-government organisations may have developed their own requirements and procedures for screening. Police Checks can be obtained from the Tasmanian Police Department.
For enquiries about working with children in Tasmania, contact the relevant authority.
|Working with Children Registration||
Ph: 1300 13 55 13
|National Police Check||
Ph: (03) 6173 2928
The Working With Children Act 2005 (Vic.) sets out the legislative requirements for child safety screening in Victoria. All individuals aged 18 or over who work or volunteer (with the exception of children under the age of 18 who are supervising children under the age of 15 in employment), and those involved with practical training with children are required to undergo a screening process known as a Working With Children Check.
Work that is classified child related is work where the usual duties involve, or are likely to involve, contact with a child. Child-related services other than those classified child care services include: religious services; commercial services for children; coaching and tuition; clubs, associations and movements; child protection services; justice facilities for children; child education services (non-government); services to children with a disability; child accommodation services; counselling and support services for children; transport services for children; youth workers; child education services (government); teaching; vocational and training; and emergency services personnel not engaged in emergency management activities (e.g., delivering educational sessions in schools).
Exemptions apply to individuals in some circumstances, check the Department of Justice and Regulation website for more information.
All applicants will undergo a national criminal history check, and disciplinary information involving children is checked for applicants seeking to engage in child-related work in some professions. Information, guidelines and application forms for the Working With Children Check are available from the Department of Justice and Regulation.
The Working With Children Check is different from a Police Check as it provides ongoing monitoring for criminal offences for the duration of the validity of the check (5 years) and can be carried across employment/volunteer positions. Police Checks can also be obtained through Victoria Police.
For enquiries about working with children in Victoria, contact the relevant authority.
|Working for Children Check||
Ph: 1300 652 879
|National Police Certificate||
Ph: 1300 88 15 96
The Working With Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004 (WA) legislates for child-safety screening and identifies broad categories of employment that require safety screening.
Employees and volunteers in the following settings are required to obtain a Working With Children Check: child care services; community kindergartens; educational institutions for children; coaching or private tuition services; arrangements for the accommodation or care of children, whether in a residential facility or private residence; placement arrangements made under the Children and Community Services Act 2004 (WA); child protection services; detention centres; community child health services; counselling or other support services; religious organisations; a club, association or movement (including of a sporting nature and whether incorporated or not) with a significant membership or involvement of children); wards of public or private hospitals in which children are ordinarily patients; babysitting or child minding services; overnight camps, transport services specifically for children; school crossing services; children's entertainment or party services.
Note that volunteers who are under 18 years of age do not require a Working With Children Check, however, employees under 18 years of age do require a Working With Children Check.
The program is administered by the Working With Children Screening Unit, Department for Child Protection. Information, guidelines and application forms are available from the Working With Children Check website.
The Working With Children Check is a compulsory criminal check. Successful applicants will be authorised to engage in child-related activities for 3 years. Working With Children Checks are different from Police Checks as they offer ongoing monitoring and may be updated if a person's criminal record changes while the check is valid. They can also be carried across employment/volunteer positions. Additionally, Working With Children Checks are only concerned with child-related offences. Therefore, employers may require that employees or volunteers obtain both a Working With Children Check and a National Police Check.
Information on obtaining a National Police Check (including the National Police Check for Volunteers Program) can be obtained from the WA Police.
For enquiries about working with children in Western Australia, contact the relevant authority.
|Working With Children Check||
Freecall: 1800 883 979
|National Police Certificate||Western Australia Police|
Screening helps to prevent people with a known history of violent and abusive behaviour gaining access to children through organisations. However, screening alone is not sufficient (e.g., it is limited to identifying known perpetrators) and needs to be coupled with interviews, thorough reference checks, policy development for child-safe environments, and robust accountability frameworks for responding to allegations.
- Commonwealth Government. (2015). Working with Children Checks Report. Sydney: Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
- Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. (2011). Position paper: Toward a nationally consistent approach to Working with Children Checks. Retrieved from <www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/families-and-children/publications-articles/a-nationally-consistent-approach-to-working-with-children-checks-2011>.
- Irenyi, M., Bromfield, L., Beyer, L., & Higgins, D. (2006). Child maltreatment in organisations: Risk factors and strategies for prevention (Child Abuse Prevention Issues No. 25). Available at: <www.aifs.gov.au/nch/pubs/issues/issues25/issues25.html>.