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Working with Children Checks

Ensure children are protected from harm.

On this page

  • Apply for a Working with Children Check
  • Check if you are exempt
  • Understand requirements for supervising children
  • who is excluded

Why checks are important

The purpose of the Working with Children Check (WWC check) is to protect children under 15 years who are employed or undertaking work experience under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006.

The Act provides for a system of mandatory WWC checks into the criminal record of any person who will be directly supervising a child in the workplace.

Apply for a Working with Children Check

Unless exempt,the employer of children must ensure that WWC checks have been conducted  and a Notice of Assessment issued prior to allowing a person to supervise a child under 15 years of age.  Use these tools from the Department of Justice to help you apply.

Apply for a working with children check

Exemptions

Parents, guardians and extended family members who employ their own children or family members don't have to submit to a WWC check. Persons closely related to the child include an adult who is a grandparent, aunt, uncle or sibling.

Other exemptions from obtaining a WWC check to supervise child employees include:

  • a teacher who has a current registration with the Victorian Institute of Teaching
  • a sworn Victorian state, or Australian Federal police officer who is not suspended from duty
  • a person who is not an Australian citizen and not ordinarily resident in Australia, if he/she does not ordinarily engage in the supervision of working children in Victoria.

The first mentioned exemption would likely apply to any tutor you may employ to provide supervision and tutoring for children employed on a longer term basis. It should be noted that other exemptions which appear in the WWC check Act may not apply in the case of supervisors of children under the Child Employment Act. Check with a child employment officer if you are unsure.

It should be noted that other exemptions which appear in the WWC Act may not apply in the case of supervisors of children under the Child Employment Act. An example  of this is a supervisor of a child under 15 years who undertakes work experience as part of their secondary school program.

The exemption stated in the WWC Act is not an exemption under the Child Employment Act. If the child is under 15 years, a WWC check will be necessary. Check with a child employment officer if you are unsure. 

Supervision of children

All people who directly supervise a child will be required to hold a current WWC check unless they are supervising their own child, family members of otherwise exempted (see above section).

WWC checks must be conducted before the commencement of the supervision of a child or whenever someone else becomes the child's supervisor. 

An employer of a child must ensure that a child is directly and adequately supervised at all times. A supervisor should be provided with appropriate training. In particular, the supervisor should be trained to recognise health and safety hazards including teasing, bullying and harassment.

WWC checks must be conducted and an Assessment Notice issued before the commencement of the supervision of the child

An employer must record the name and WWC check number of any person that supervises a child in employment and present these to a child employment officer on request.

Requirement for supervisors in the Entertainment Industry

An employer must ensure that the supervisor is not given other responsibilities that would prevent them from providing direct supervision.

There are separate supervision requirements for babies under 12 weeks and children under 6 years. 

Exclusions from employing children

Where a WWC check reveals that a person has a criminal record, an assessment will be made as to whether that person can be issued with a WWC check card. A person will not automatically be excluded on the basis of a criminal record.

Many offences will render a person unsuitable to hold a WWC check card. They include:

  • sexual offences
  • violence offences
  • drug related offences
  • offences against children.

If an assessment of unsuitability is made, the subject of the check will be notified directly of this outcome and be informed of their right of review. They will be issued with an interim negative notice (INN) when this occurs.

A person cannot supervise a child in employment whilst they hold an INN. In the case of an unsuitable assessment made against a supervisor, the employer would be advised of the assessment but not the reasons for such an assessment.

Child Employment Officers appointed by the Secretary of the Department of Business and Innovation will have access to the WWC check should an INN or a negative notice (NN) be issued. The results will be used solely for the purpose of issuing a Child Employment Permit.

An employer will be told that a supervisor has undertaken a WWC Check and if that check is valid, or if they have been issued with an NN or an INN. Employers will not be told the details of the check.

How much does a WWC check cost?

As fees change annually, check the current fee prior to submitting your application on the Department of Justice website or:

  • contact their information line on 1300 652 879 or
  • contact a participating Australia Post outlet.

Contact a child employment officer

email: childemployment@dsdbi.vic.gov.au

Ph: 1800 287 287