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  • Police Check for Vulnerable Sector Screening

    A national police check can be obtained online via the Australian National Character Check website.

    Most national police history checks are dispatched to applicants within 24 to 48 hours, with the remainder that get referred for manual processing taking longer.

    Applicants can obtain a national police check online for a base price of $48.90. Payment options include debit card, credit card or PayPal.

    People who assist or serve in the vulnerable sector carry out crucial roles for humanity and Australians. These people have a great responsibility to assist, care for, help, diagnose and interact with vulnerable people each day. These tasks of entrusting specific individuals with the care of our vulnerable group are risky, and that is why they must undergo checks and Screening.

    The Police Check is one of the most standard and popular documents for assessing candidates in Australia regardless of the role. In some cases Australian States' legislation mandates a criminal history check result as a requirement for specific roles.

    One such instance where you may need a Police Check result is in the screening exercise for candidates who want to work/volunteer in the Vulnerable sector.

    It should be noted that although a national criminal history check is a sound starting point to screen applicants working in the vulnerable sector, some workplaces that undertake a ‘regulated activity’ will also require other types of mandatory background checks as stipulated in the legislation. For example, in some States and Territories, a Working with Children Check (WWCC) is mandatory for persons engaged in child related roles. Employers and decision makers should keep up to date on the background checks that workers in their organisations will require to engage in a ‘regulated activity’.

    What is a Police Check?

    The Police Check is a nationwide process of detailing a candidate’s history and interaction with the Australian laws. It includes all the Disclosable court convictions and records of a person on the Australian Criminal Database.

    The Police Check certificate/result which the applicant gets after the checking aids the employer/agency in assessing the candidate. Depending on the outcome of the check, and the internal policies of the agency/employer, they can decline or accept the candidate.

    These days, the criminal history check has become a common request among employers due to its simplicity, ease, availability and quality information.

    Why Police Checks for Working with the Vulnerable?

    Police Checks provide generic information of a person's criminal history from the national records. However, it still highlights the information to the "purpose" the person states when applying for the check.

    The Police Check has various uses and niches, depending on the requesting party or the sector. A Police Check for the vulnerable sector will provide more tailored information on the candidate’s criminal history in the related area.

    For example, a Police Check for vulnerable will prioritise the candidate’s court records on Child abuse offences over traffic offences. Also, a Police Check for the Driving role will prioritise a traffic offence over some other minor or petty offence that is unrelated to the role.

    Who are Vulnerable People in Australia?

    People commonly use the term "vulnerable" without knowing the group of people that qualify. Not everyone can claim to be vulnerable under Australian law; in fact, the law gives a specific description for the vulnerable identity.

    A vulnerable person is;


    1. Minors under 18 years

    These are children or persons still in their formative years. While they may be charged to court (Youth court), the law still considers them unable of "full mental or physical awareness". Dealing with this group in a legal setting must involve an adult or specific procedure.


    1. Persons above 18 but may be unable to cater for themselves

    Adults can also be vulnerable under the law if;

    • They are unable to protect themselves from harm and exploitation,
    • They are physically, mentally or psychologically unstable,
    • They have some forms of disability, which makes them unsuitable for routine activities.

    These people require care, attention, and guardians to assist them in their daily tasks, with some even as critical as feeding. Since these people may be the target of manipulators and other offenders, only trusted people should be untrusted with their care and wellbeing.

    What qualifies a person as ‘Vulnerable’ in Australia?

    Mere physical disability is not the only criteria for vulnerability under the law. A person can still be vulnerable even if they are of sound physical health. Vulnerability goes beyond the physical disability; a person could be vulnerable by;

    • Age,
    • Disability,
    • Mental illness and conditions,
    • Traumas and psychological disorders,
    • Emotional illness,
    • And any other matter that renders them unstable or unable to cater for themselves.

    What is the Vulnerable sector in Australia?

    Many agencies, services, organisations, and groups work and care for various vulnerable groups in Australia. These workers span the political, religious or simple business enterprise. Whatever their motivation or type of enterprise, they can all constitute the vulnerable sector in Australia.

    People who work in the vulnerable sector care, support and aid them in their routines and living. It includes the professionals (Healthcare, Therapists, Educators, etc.) to the non-professionals and contract staff who work in these enterprises.

    What are the various roles in the vulnerable sector?

    The roles in the vulnerable sector are not limited only to those who provide the direct service for the wellbeing of the vulnerable; it also includes providers of non-direct service.

    The positions/roles in the Vulnerable sector include;


    • Voluntary positions

    Some religious, cultural or charitable groups offer full or part-time voluntary services to care for the vulnerable. These positions translate mostly to direct interaction through care and affection show. Some of such groups include;

    • ✔ Women’s services,
    • ✔ Homeless support,
    • ✔ Youth support groups
    • ✔ Rehabilitation groups,
    • ✔ Addiction support,
    • ✔ Mental health groups,

    All who want to volunteer or operate a volunteering group may need to obtain a Police Check for the purpose of working with the vulnerable (e.g. a volunteering criminal history check).


    • Professional workers

    Vulnerable persons still need various professional services, with the usual being Health care. However, there are still lawyers, therapists, psychologists, Asset Managers that may work with them. Any professionals who want to get close to a vulnerable person should have a criminal history check certificate or a screening check that is more extensive if mandated by the law.


    • Carers and support workers

    It includes all essential and visible staff of the vulnerable care. Before getting such roles, all residential workers, caregivers, support workers, community groups, and matrons should be scrutinised. Workers in this category should submit a Police Check result (for the purpose of working with the vulnerable) before getting such roles. In some cases, certain States and Territories will require other types of checks if the activity is a regulated activity.


    • Child-related roles

    Those who work in areas dominated by children or minors are under the vulnerable sector. It includes teachers, school bus drivers, educators, welfare personnel, entertainment, and other relevant religious sectors.

    Regardless of where such people work, they should obtain a criminal history check as long as they primarily interact with kids. Certain States and Territories will require a working with children check if the activity is a regulated activity as defined in the legislation.


    • Information and Technology services

    These workers may not have direct interactions with the vulnerable, but they may control their sensitive data. All employees who want to work in an IT service dealing with vulnerable data should present a criminal record check as part of the screening requirement.

    Is the Police Check a requirement in the Vulnerable sector screening?

    For effective risk mitigation and depending on the type of work being carried out, in an ideal situation, anyone who wants to work or volunteer in the Vulnerable sector should provide a valid criminal history check certificate. Also, the candidate must select “Vulnerable sector screening” or something similar as a purpose while applying for the Check.

    The criminal history check informs the employer of the identity and the essential criminal records of the candidate.

    For some industries like aged care, the legislation also mandates that employers in such sensitive sectors (vulnerable care) implement a protection policy for the vulnerable.

    However, a Police Check may not be the only requirement when working in the vulnerable sector. Due to the sensitivity in such roles, organisations may be required to request other background checks unique to the role.

    What other Background checks do I need in the Vulnerable sector?

    Besides the famous and standard police background check, employers usually request other background checks as may be mandated by law if their workplace forms part of a “regulated activity’. Examples of such background checks are the;

    It is an employer’s responsibility to be aware of what checks their workers will require when engaging workers in regulated activities.


    Working with Children Check (WWCC)

    The WWC is an ongoing assessment of the candidate's suitability for a child-related role. The WWCC provides more peculiar and relevant information about the candidate's previous history when working with children.

    Unlike the Police Check, the WWCC reveals even the spent, pending and Non-Conviction charges. It also details relevant information on the Police records like;

    • Restriction Order,
    • Domestic Violence Order,
    • Police warnings/Cautions against child-related offences,
    • Offences relating to children not settled in court

    Furthermore, the WWCC is not valid outside of the State that you applied for it. If you relocate to another Australian State to continue your volunteering service, you must apply for another Working with Children Check.

    Only authorised State or Territory government screening units can carry out a Working with Children Check.


    Working with Vulnerable People Check (WWVP)

    Some States and Territories refer to the WWVP rather than the WWCC. The scope of these checks is similar, only that the Working with Vulnerable People Check (WWVP) provides broader information on the candidate's suitability for a vulnerable role or position and is not only targeted towards their suitability for working with children or in a child related role.

    The Working with Vulnerable Check also reveals information that is not disclosed in a Police Check. The legislation for the WWVP check varies depending on the State/Territory. You will need to apply for a new WWVP to work in the vulnerable sector in another State or Territory.

    The Working with Vulnerable People Check is an ongoing assessment of the person's criminal records and other related information. Where the candidate's record changes to affect the vulnerable role, such a check will be withdrawn.

    Only authorised State or Territory government screening units can carry out a Working with Vulnerable People Check.


    NDIS Worker Screening Check

    The NDIS Worker Screening Check evaluates the candidate from various records in Australia to determine their suitability for working with people with disabilities. The NDIS Check is a national check; the holder can use the Check result in any other place in Australia.

    The NDIS reveals more peculiar information and risks about employing the candidate to deal with disabled people under the National Disability Insurance Scheme. In addition to the Conviction records, it will display the AVOs, workplace misconduct; Police cautions for public misbehaviours, etc for persons who apply to work in the NDIS sector. Only Authorised government screening units can carry out an NDIS worker screening check.


    Aged care Police Check

    The Aged form a significant amount of the people in our community who are classified as a vulnerable population.

    The Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth) mandates a relevant background check result for anyone who wants to work in the aged sector. Regardless of the type of services, or their capabilities, workers in aged care must apply for a criminal history check for the purpose of undertaking aged care work.

    Can I be refused a Voluntary role in the Vulnerable sector?

    The Vulnerable sector looks beyond care or community service when selecting or recruiting. The organisation or employer may refuse a role with access to the vulnerable if you have a poor record, even though it is a volunteer.

    The screening process for working in the vulnerable sector is rigid and tight.

    Although employers should keep an eye on discriminating against candidates, they should also have robust recruitment policies and adhere to their internal recruitment policies to safeguard vulnerable members of the community.

    What shows in a Police Check certificate?

    The Police Check certificate will return all the Disclosable Court Outcomes (DCOs) of the individual on their criminal records.

    The DCOs reveal all of the applicant’s offences except the Spent convictions and others the legislation does not consider disclosable. The details that appear on a Police Check are;

    When the purpose of the Police Check is for Screening in a Vulnerable sector, the Police Check will show related offences like;

    The Spent Convictions Scheme

    Under this special Scheme, eligible offences will be taken off a person's criminal record. Offences that are "Spent" are no longer part of the offender's DCOs. Also, such person's have the advantage of never revealing the details of their spent records unless under strict legal or court orders.

    However, not all offences can be spent. The Scheme outlines the regulations for the violations that can be eligible.

    An eligible offence;

    • Should be a minor offence; must not have incurred imprisonment term longer than 30 months,
    • Must not be for a severe or sensitive offence like a sexual-related offence,
    • The offender must have settled any court stipulation or punishments imposed,
    • The offender must have observed a crime-free period before the offence can be spent,
    • Other special conditions stipulated by the jurisdiction (varies by State).

    The Crime-free period is a nationwide period where an offender exhibits good behaviour. It can be issued by the court or apply towards a course.

    Generally, the crime-free period in Australia is;

    Will Spent Convictions Show in my Checks for Screening?

    The Spent Convictions do not show on National Police Checks, but that is that. Other screening checks like the Working with Children Check, Working with Vulnerable People Check or an NDIS Worker Screening Check will reveal relevant Police records and Spent Convictions to the authorised State or Territory government screening unit that carries out the assessment of suitability for a candidate.

    Will an Overseas Conviction Show up in my Police Check?

    Some people expect their overseas conviction to appear on a criminal history check. However, the Check only reveals convictions or records issued by an Australian Court.

    Employers or organisations must explore other means and actions (e.g. an international police check) to get a candidate’s overseas records.

    How can I obtain national police checks?

    Individuals

    If you are an individual, you can obtain a national criminal record check certificate online via Australian National Character Check’s police check application form. The results are dispatched via email.

    Business and Enterprise Customers

    Business and Enterprise customers are able to sign up to ANCC’s business portal where they can order, manage, track and view candidates’ criminal history check results on their business portal. Organisations will undergo a process for approval prior to being granted access to ANCC’s business portal.

    ANCC sends an invite to the applicant to complete their criminal record check online and handles the application and informed consent form. Contact ANCC’s business and enterprise partnerships team today to enquire about setting up a business portal for your organisation.

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