Working with Children Checks in Victoria

A new system being implemented in Victoria creates a minimum mandatory statewide standard to help prevent people who pose a risk to the safety of children, from working with them in a paid or volunteer capacity.

Anyone engaged in child-related work, as defined by the Working with Children Act 2005, will need to undergo a Working with Children Check unless an exemption applies.

The check considers an applicant's criminal history for serious sexual, serious violent or serious drug-related offences. Findings from professional disciplinary bodies such as the Victorian Institute of Teaching are also considered. Applicants who pass a Working with Children Check will be issued with a Working with Children Check Card and Assessment Notice.

If an applicant has a relevant offence or finding, the application outcome will depend on the nature of the offence and surrounding circumstances.

The Working with Children Check is being phased in over the next five years. Around 650,000 people who work or volunteer in child-related work in Victoria will need to apply. The Victorian Department of Justice's Working with Children Check website outlines who should apply and when.

Employers and volunteer organisations are responsible for ensuring that any employees required to apply for a check have done so by the time set out in the phasing plan. Penalties apply for knowingly employing someone without a Working with Children Check if they are required to have one.

Working or volunteering in child-related work as defined by the Act without a valid check will be a criminal offence carrying a penalty of up to two years jail and/or up to a $25,783 fine.

Working with Children Check Cards are valid for five years but can be revoked at any time if holders commit a relevant offence.

Application forms are available at participating Victorian Australia Post outlets. Applications are free for volunteers and $70 for paid workers.

For more information contact the Victorian Department of Justice's Working with Children Check Information Line on 1300 652 879, workingwithchildren@justice.vic.gov.au or visit www.justice.vic.gov.au/workingwithchildren

For more information on requirements for working with children in other jurisdictions contact the Australian Institute of Family Studies - National Child Protection Clearinghouse on 03 9214 7888 or visit www.aifs.gov.au/nch/policechecks.html

This page was generated on 26 August, 2009