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Working with Children Checks

Make sure you provide a child-safe working environment

On this page

  • Apply for a Victorian Working with Children Check
  • Find out if you're exempt from obtaining a Check
  • Understand the requirements for supervising children
  • Learn the circumstances which excludes people from employing children

Employing children in the entertainment industry - an overview

Employing children in the entertainment industry: read the full transcript

Why checks are important

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

The Working with Children Act (2005) – WWC Act – provides for a system of mandatory Victorian WWC checks into the criminal record of any person who will be directly supervising a child in the workplace.

Apply for a Victorian Working with Children Check

Under s19(b) of the WWC Act 2005 – unless exempt – the employer of children must ensure that Victorian 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 the tools provided by the Department of Justice and Regulation to help you apply.

Apply for a Victorian Working with Children Check

Exemptions

Parents, guardians and persons closely related to the child who employ their own children or family members don't have to submit to a Victorian WWC check. 

Persons closely related to the child include an adult who is: 

  • a grandparent
  • aunt
  • uncle
  • sibling.

Other exemptions from obtaining a Victorian 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 they don't 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 Act 2005 may not apply in the case of supervisors of children under the Child Employment Act 2003. 

It should be noted that other exemptions which appear in the WWC Act 2005 may not apply in the case of supervisors of children under the Child Employment Act 2003. 

For example, 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 2005 is not an exemption under the Child Employment Act. 

If the child is under 15 years, a Victorian WWC Check (employee type) will be necessary.  

Still unsure?

If you're still not sure whether you're exempt, get in contact with a child employment by calling them on 1800 287 287, or sending them an email.

Supervision of children

  • All people who directly supervise a child will be required to hold a current Victorian WWC Check (employee) – unless they're supervising their own child or family members. For more information, see our section on exemptions above.
  • Victorian 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.
  • 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

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 Victorian 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 Checkcard,including:

  • 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 Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) 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 Victorian WWC Check cost?

As fees change annually, check the current fee prior to submitting your application on the Department of Justice and Regulation's website.

Alternatively, you can:

  • call the Department of Justice and Regulation information line on 1300 652 879 
  • contact a participating Australia Post outlet.

Contact a child employment officer 

For further assistance and advice about employing children in Victoria, speak to a child employment officer by calling them on 1800 287 287, or send them an email.

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