The Working with Children Check (WWCC) assists in protecting children from sexual or physical harm by ensuring that people who work with, or care for, them are subject to a screening process.
If you are doing or intending to do child-related work and do not qualify for an exemption, you need a Check. To help you decide if you are doing child-related work, go to Who needs a Check?
Organisations need to:
- Determine which paid and volunteer workers require a Check
- Ensure workers have a valid Check
- Ensure new starters apply for a Check before commencing child-related work.
The Check is just one of an organisation’s responsibilities in creating and maintaining a child-safe environment. It screens a person’s criminal records and any reports about professional conduct by the bodies listed in What is checked.
The Check does not assess a person’s suitability to work with or care for children in a particular role. It is the responsibility of organisations to assess if a person is suitable to work with children and to continue monitoring their workers' behaviour around children.
Organisations should be vigilant at all times by doing thorough reference checks and establishing sound, ongoing supervision practices so that children are safe from harm.
Working with Children Check Amendments
Amendments to the WWCC came into effect on 1 August 2017. Individuals that previously did not require a WWCC may now need one to undertake their role. This has implications to organisations meeting the Victorian Child Safe Standards.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse made several recommendations aimed at strengthening the protection children receive through WWCC. The following amendments to the Act implement these recommendations:
- Expand the definition of ‘direct contact’ in the Act. The definition of direct contact now includes oral, written or electronic communication as well as face-to-face and physical contact.
- Remove references to ‘supervision’ from the Act. This means that even if a person’s contact with children as part of their child-related work is supervised by another person, they will still need to apply for a WWCC.
- Create a new occupational category of ‘child-related work’, known as ‘kinship care’. Family members or other persons of significance caring for a child placed by Child Protection under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 are required to obtain a WWCC.
- Ensure that non-conviction charges (charges that have been finally dealt with other than by a conviction or finding of guilt) for serious sexual, violent or drug offences are considered as part of Check assessments and re-assessments.
- Enable the Secretary to the Department of Justice and Regulation to compel the production of certain information for the purposes of compliance monitoring.
In addition, various other miscellaneous and technical amendments have been made to improve the Act’s operation and administration. Detailed information on the changes is provided here.
What does this mean for sporting organisations?
Sporting organisations at all levels should be aware of the incoming amendments. Changes in relation to Direct Contact and Supervision may now require some volunteers and staff to gain a WWCC that previously did not need one.
Item 1 – Direct Contact
Matt is the communications officer at a local junior football club. He maintains the Facebook pages of the club, which involves direct contact with juniors aged 8-18 via social media. Due to the change in definition of direct contact, Matt is now required to hold a Check.
Item 2 – Supervision
Sarah is a trainee coach and supervised in her role coaching a junior basketball team by the club’s senior coach. Previously she did not require a WWCC. Because of the changes, even though she is directly supervised by the senior coach, Sarah is now required to hold a Check.
WWCC & the Child Safe Standards
Organisations must comply with the Child Safe Standards that have been introduced as part of the Victorian Government's response to the Betrayal of Trust Inquiry. These are compulsory minimum standards under the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 that apply to organisations that provide services for children. The Standards help ensure the safety of children. Ensuring your staff and volunteers have a valid and relevant WWCC does not mean your organisation meets the Standards, it is one component that your organisation can utilise to develop a child safe environment. Organisations must also comply with the Reportable conduct scheme requirements that came into effect on 1 July 2017. For more information on the Standards or Reportable Conduct Scheme go to Commission for Children and Young People.
Vicsport encourages all Sport related organisations to:
- Review their current WWCC, Child Safe Sport and related Policies to ensure they are in line with relevant legislation;
- Inform all member organistions and individuals as soon as possible – especially those that have not previously obtained a WWCC;
- Encourage applications for new WWCC as soon as possible to avoid delays closer to the 1 August 2017 deadline.
Working with Children Check
P: 1300 652 879
The Commission for Children and Young People
Child Safe Standards & Reportable Conduct Scheme
P: 1300 78 29 78