In Western Australia, key child protection responsibilities relate to:
In Western Australia and the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands, the Working with Children (WWC) Check is a compulsory screening strategy for people who
engage in certain paid or unpaid work with children, described as “child-related work” under the WWC Act.
The WWC Check is administered by the WWC Screening Unit within the Department of Communities. In the sport and recreation industry, the WWC Check applies to many people who work with children in Western Australia and the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands including:
Not all employees, volunteers, students and self—employed people require a WWC Check; only those who engage in child-related work as defined in the WWC Act. The WWC Check is only one strategy to keep children safe; there are other screening and safeguarding strategies your organisation can implement to make sure it is child safe and child-friendly.
When a person applies for a WWC Check and they are successful, they are issued with an Assessment Notice in the form of a WWC Card. A valid WWC Card allows the person to engage in child-related work. In situations where a risk of harm has been identified if the person engages in child-related work, the WWC Screening Unit will issue the person a Negative Notice. A Negative Notice prohibits the person from engaging in child-related work.
Employers, volunteer organisations and individuals have responsibilities to comply with the WWC Act and keep children safe in their organisations.
This information is a summary only. For more detailed information about the WWC legislation, download the ‘Working with Children Checks: Information for the sport and recreation industry’ booklet or visit https://workingwithchildren.wa.gov.au.
Your organisation’s WWC Check responsibilities:
Your organisation has responsibilities under the WWC Act. It is important to know your responsibilities as some offences carry penalties of up to $60,000 and five years imprisonment. Some of your responsibilities include that:
More information about organisation responsibilities and offences and penalties is available here.
Your organisation’s compliance with the WWC Act
Your organisation must be able to demonstrate its compliance to the WWC Act, so good record-keeping is essential. The WWC Screening Unit can also audit employers and volunteer organisations. When reviewing your compliance consider the questions below:
Where can you get a Working with Children Check application form from?
Application forms are available at authorised Australia Post outlets. Once completed, applicants lodge their form in person at an authorised Australian Post outlet. When lodging the application form applicants need to present the required identity documents, pay the required fee; their photo will also be taken.
Who has to apply?
Anyone who engages in child-related work in Western Australia whether in a paid, volunteer or self-employed capacity. Visit here for information
What happens after a person applies?
Once a criminal history check has been conducted and assessed an applicant will be issued with either an Assessment Notice (WWC Card) or a Negative Notice (in certain circumstances, an Interim Negative Notice may be issued until a final decision on an application is made). Organisations and employers must not engage anyone with a Negative Notice or Interim Negative Notice in child-related work. A copy of any Notice is provided to the organisation or employer who completed the applicant’s WWC application form. Notices do not contain details of any criminal history information.
How do card holders renew their WWC Card?
WWC Cards expire after three years. Card holders must renew their WWC Card before it expires if they are going to continue their child-related work. Card holders have the option to submit an online renewal application or lodge an application at an authorised Australia Post.
How much does the Working with Children Check cost?
Are there exemptions?
Yes there are exemptions. Certain people do not require a WWC Check because they fit within the description of an exemption that applies to the specific category or categories of child-related work they engage in. If a person’s work is covered by an exemption then they are NOT in child related work and are ineligible to apply for a WWC Check. Some exemptions apply across all categories while others are specific to a particular category. Below are some of the most common exemptions:
For more information about all the exemptions please read more here.
What criminal history information is considered in a Working with Children Check?
The WWC Check assess the criminal records and other relevant information to see if applicants and card holders have any charges, convictions and behaviours that indicate they may harm a child. The criminal history information obtained includes:
A criminal record in itself will not necessarily prevent a person from engaging in child related work. The WWC Screening Unit will also consider the circumstances surrounding any charges or convictions recorded and can request and consider any information that is relevant to whether a child may be exposed to a risk of harm. The WWC Check is not the same as the National Police Certificate and some people may need to have both a WWC Check and a Police Certificate (e.g. to reveal fraud, stealing or driving offences). More information here.
How long is a Working with Children Check valid for? Three (3) years unless it is cancelled.
Is a WWC Card transferable across organisations? Yes, a WWC Card is transferable across all child-related work in WA. If a person holds a valid WWC Card they can use the same card for other child-related work they engage in. When an organisation engages a person with a valid WWC Card they should ensure it is valid by visiting here and using the online validation tool. Organisations have responsibilities to keep record, visit the WWC Check website for more information.
It is a legal requirement in Western Australia for doctors, nurses, midwives, teachers, police officers and boarding supervisors to report all reasonable beliefs of child sexual abuse to the Department of Communities - Child Protection and Family Support. For more information about mandatory reporting.
Who else should report abuse? Anyone who has reasonable grounds for suspecting a child or young person (under the age of 18) has been or is at risk of being neglected or physically, sexually or emotionally abused, should report their concerns to either the Department of Communities, Child Protection and Family Support or the Western Australian Police.
What if I have a concern but I have no proof? The Department of Communities, Child Protection and Family Support state the following:
For more information visit: Department of Child Protection
How do I make a report? If you are concerned for the care and safety of a child or young person, contact your local Department of Communities, Child Protection and Family Support.
Updated: October 2017