The Victorian Parliament has now passed some significant changes to the Working with Children Check requirements. The changes are scheduled to come into effect on 1 August 2017.
We recommend your organisation start to take steps now to ensure that everyone who needs to have a Working with Children Check has one in place before the legislation comes into effect.
2. WWCC required for online, phone or other electronic communication contact
Due to the definition of “child-related work” set out above, a WWCC is required where a person has work that usually involves “direct contact” with a child.At present, “direct contact” is defined to mean “any contact between a person and a child that involves (a) physical contact or (b) face to face oral communication”. To reflect the growing use of technology in child-related work, which can facilitate the abuse of children, the meaning of “direct contact” will be expanded to include all of the following:
This means that people working with children in online settings will need to consider if they are required to have a WWCC.
3. WWCC will reveal criminal charges that did not result in convictions
The WWCC will reveal charges for serious offences that have been finally dealt with other than by way of conviction or finding of guilt in certain applications. This means that the WWCC will show more information about a person than they have in the past. At present, Victoria does not consider non-conviction charges when assessing a person’s suitability for obtaining a WWCC. A non-conviction charge is a charge that has not resulted in a finding of conviction or guilt. The Bill proposes that non-conviction charges be considered as relevant matters when assessing a person’s criminal history. However, it limits this to the most serious offences such as sexual, violent or drug offences.Remember: police checks are different from WWCC, and police checks cannot be a substitute for WWCC. See here for a comparison.
We have outlined above some of the key changes that will impact Not for Profit organisations, but there will also be changes to WWCC requirements for kinship carers, greater powers for the Department of Justice to require a person to produce information, and some other technical amendments.
To talk to someone about how the changes to WWCC check will affect your business, please call Lewis Holdway Lawyers on (03) 9629 9629.