Working with Children
The Working with Children (WWC) Check scheme is established under the Worker Screening Act 2020 (the Act) and creates a minimum checking standard across Victoria for people who work or volunteer with children in certain capacities. The WWC Check assists in ensuring that people who are unsuitable to engage in ‘child-related work’ do not do so.
A WWC Check is valid for up to 5 years after which it will need to be renewed if the holder wishes to continue in child-related paid or voluntary work.
A WWC Check is transferable between jobs or volunteer organisations. Should a person engage in ‘child-related work’ with another organisation, they do not need to apply for a second WWC Check, however a WWC Check obtained for the purpose of voluntary work, as indicated by the letter ‘V’ on the WWC Check card, may not be used for the purposes of paid work. It is an offence to use a volunteer WWC Check for the purpose of engaging in paid ‘child-related work’. Principals and managers should verify that WWC Check cards presented to them by paid employees are stamped with the letter ‘E’.
The WWC Check consists of a national criminal history check and consideration of any relevant findings from professional disciplinary bodies such as the Victorian Institute of Teaching. Criminal offences and pending charges or non-conviction charges against a person which will be taken into account are those involving serious sexual, violent or drug offences. The WWC Check does not include offences such as fraud or theft which may be relevant to assessing the suitability for employment of non-teaching staff in schools. Further information on the offences relevant to a WWC Check can be found at the Department of Justice and Community Safety’s website.
The WWC Check is monitored on an ongoing basis. This means that holders of a WWC Check will continue to be checked for any new relevant offences or findings from professional disciplinary bodies. New charges, convictions, findings of guilt or findings from professional disciplinary bodies which are relevant to the WWC Check will result in a re-assessment of the holder’s eligibility for a WWC Check.
What is ‘child-related work’?
The Act defines ‘child-related work’ as work which usually involves (or is likely to involve) direct contact with a child, irrespective of whether that contact is supervised or not, and in any of the child-related occupational fields listed in the Act. The definition of direct contact includes oral, written or electronic communication as well as face-to-face and physical contact. ‘Child-related work’ may be either paid or unpaid (voluntary).
‘Educational Institution’ is an occupational field listed in the Act and includes any State school established under section 2.2.1 of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006. Accordingly all Victorian Government primary, secondary, and special schools fall within the Act.
Any person whose duties usually involve or is likely to involve work in a school (other than teachers and principals) is considered to be engaged in ‘child-related work’ as defined in the Act and will need to ensure they are compliant with the legislative obligations contained in the Act.
There are exemptions from the Act including people under 18 years of age, parent volunteers whose child ordinarily participates in the activity, sworn police officers, teachers currently registered with the Victorian Institute of Teaching, and visiting workers who do not ordinarily reside and perform child-related work in Victoria, among others.
Applying for the WWC Check
The WWC Check is conducted by the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS). Applications must be lodged at one of the participating Australia Post outlets in Victoria. Visit for a list of where a WWC Check application may be made.
The ‘Application for WWC Check’ form asks the applicant to list the names of organisations where they intend to work in ‘child-related work’. Principals are to request that Department and school council employees name the:
Department of Education and Training
2 Treasury Place
East Melbourne 3002
telephone: 03 7022 0005
in response to this question and to also name the school at which they are employed.
It is important that volunteers name the school at which they intend to perform the ‘child-related work’ in their application as the Department has no means to identify in which school a volunteer may be engaged.
WWC Check outcomes
If the employee passes the WWC Check they will be issued a WWC Card which also acts as an ‘Assessment Notice’. An Assessment Notice means the employee has passed the WWC Check and may work in ‘child-related work’.
Principals and managers may enquire on the status of a WWC card at any time by visiting and entering a WWC Check unique number, alternatively telephone . It is recommended that principals and managers periodically verify the status of WWC Checks held by people engaged in ‘child-related work’ at their workplace as WWC Checks are subject to ongoing monitoring and it is possible that if an individual has a relevant change in circumstances, their WWC Check may cease to be valid.
If an employee has criminal offences or a professional disciplinary outcome that may result in them failing a WWC Check, the employee may be issued with an Interim Negative Notice or a Negative Notice. An Interim Negative Notice means the Department of Justice and Community Safety is intending to issue a Negative Notice and will provide the employee with an opportunity to explain why they should not be given a Negative Notice.
An employee or volunteer who receives an Interim Negative Notice or a Negative Notice is required by law to inform their employer within 7 days.
If a principal or manager becomes aware that an employee has been issued an Interim Negative Notice or a Negative Notice, they must contact the Employee Conduct Branch immediately.
Reviewed 01 April 2021