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An important part of providing child safe environments is making sure that people working or volunteering with children and young people are suitable.
The Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016 requires people who are working with children or providing child-related work to have a working with children check (WWCC). This is unless an exclusion applies.
Organisations must outline their screening and suitability process in their policies and procedures. They must also take all reasonable steps to make sure they engage the best possible people to work with children and young people.
An organisation must produce a copy of their policies and procedures for inspection, if requested by a person who receives (or will receive) the organisation’s services.
Organisations must make sure the people they engage are suited to the specific role they are undertaking. They must also make sure prohibited persons aren’t engaged to work with children and young people.
The following people are prohibited from working with children:
- a person who has been issued a prohibition notice
- a person who, under a law of the Commonwealth or another State or Territory, is prohibited from working with children
- a person who has been found guilty of a prescribed offence committed as an adult.
It’s an offence for an organisation to employ (or continue to employ) a prohibited person to work with children or undertake child-related work. An employee includes a person who:
- is self-employed
- carries out work under a contract for services
- carries out work as a minister of religion, or as part of the duties of a religious or spiritual vocation
- undertakes practical training as part of an educational or vocational course
- carries out work as a volunteer
- performs unpaid community work in line with an order of a court.
The following activities and services are child-related work:
- accommodation and residential services for children
- those provided by religious organisations (including organisations providing spiritual or pastoral services)
- childcare or child-minding services
- child protection services
- those provided by operating sporting, recreational, cultural or artistic clubs or associations with significant membership or involvement of children
- coaching or tuition services for children
- commercial services provided directly to children, including:
- the sale or supply of goods or services where physical contact with children would be reasonably expected to occur
- recreational services where contact with children would be reasonably expected to occur (such as a play gym)
- entertainment services provided at children parties or events (such as face painting or the hire of bouncy castles)
- entertainment services where a person appears or performs as a costumed character that is likely to appeal to children (such as a sports mascot or Santa Claus)
- photography of children
- competitions held primarily for children, or where there is a children’s category (such as beauty pageants and talent shows)
- disability services for children
- education services for children (including preschool, primary and secondary education, but not tertiary education)
- health services for children (including allied health services)
- justice and detention services for children
- transport services for children
- traffic control (or supervision of) provided at school pedestrian crossings.
Organisations that enter into contracts with other organisations (such as government departments) should check if contractual obligations exist requiring child safe environments policies and procedures, and screening of employees.
In certain circumstances, some exclusions from requiring a WWCC can apply. Organisations don’t have to use these available exclusions.
Transitional arrangements exist for people with current screening products, allowing time to transition to a WWCC.
More information on who needs a WWCC, exclusions, transitional arrangements and how to apply for a check is available from the screening unit webpages.