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Home Other Checks and Registrations Volunteer Police Check in Australia

Volunteer Police Check in Australia

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In most organisations, certain individuals offer their expertise or services for non-profit or voluntarily. These individuals are concerned about the safety, wellbeing, or improvement of the community and people of the region. Volunteers are also screened before employment into such roles, especially where such roles deals with 'sensitive' or vulnerable duties like;

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Are there any differences with the National Police Checks?

The Background checks or a National Police Check carried out is a record of an individual’s disclosable court outcomes (DCOs) or the No-Disclosable court outcomes of the individual (NDCOs). The Checks help employers and agencies to make more informed decisions in employment to sensitive roles.

In Australia, most workers or volunteers (current and aspiring) must obtain a background check. So the outcomes of a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check is essentially the same whether it is issued for employment or volunteer purposes.

Who should obtain Volunteer Police Checks?

Anyone who seeks a role in Australia especially related to working with the vulnerable, children, Fire Services, and so on must obtain a Volunteer Police Check. However, in some organisations, they often bear the cost and process of the Volunteer Police Checks (with the consent of the applicant). The employers request a police check from prospective volunteers before they commence in their respective job roles.

Other organisations request each of their volunteers to bear the cost of the Police Check. The Background Check fees for Volunteers may be discounted as long as it is stated in the application form.

It is important to note that volunteer checks are not a free police check and also encounter a fee that must be paid.

How long is my Volunteer Police Check certificate valid for?

A Police Check is a Point In Time Check and is valid as of the date of issue till a time specified by the requesting party or organisation. Most institutions prefer checks that are not older than 3 months old from the date you apply for the position, however this will depend on the requesting party.

Furthermore, every organisation has the discretion in choosing or refusing a Police Check (by duration) according to their internal mitigation risk strategy.

Background Checks are used to screen potential volunteers for suitability to the roles they apply for, and employers use the most prudent and legal options in screening their Police Checks.

Where can I obtain a Valid Police Check for Volunteer purposes?

When applying as a volunteer for most roles in many organisations/agencies in Australia, you must provide a valid Background check. You must also ensure that the Volunteer Check you provide is related to the role you are applying for.

To apply for a Volunteer Police Check in Australia there are two ways to go about it;

1. Australian Police authority

You can obtain a Volunteer Background check by visiting the local Police Authority. The method is usually completed in-person, and forms are paper-based. After completing the application process, your criminal background check certificate is mailed to you.

However, this process may be tedious and time-consuming. It might prove ineffective where urgency is needed.

2. Through accredited agencies

Australian National Character Check provides employers, organisations and individuals with a Police Check Online. Most are dispatched within 24 to 48 hours, with the remaining that get referred for manual processing taking longer. The application process is completely online, and the submission of Identification and verification is done over a secured and encrypted server.

Australian National Character check does not provide a discounted rate for volunteer criminal history checks and all checks are considered to be standard national criminal history checks.

When filling the application forms, you must specify the purpose of the Police Check. You must also specify what volunteer role it will be used for.

What is shown in a Background Police Check for Volunteers?

A Background Criminal History Check can contain a “no disclosable court outcomes” in a case where the applicant has no convictions that are considered "releasable" by the Police Authorities and State legislation. Or “Disclosable court outcomes”; where the applicant has convictions that are deemed releasable.

Some of the convictions released on your Criminal History Check for Volunteer include and are not limited to;

However, in the legislation of most States and territories in Australia, Spent Convictions are omitted from an individual’s Background Check.

Findings of conviction can only be categorised as spent by the state or federal legislation. An offence may be classified as spent if;

What is a Working with Children Check?

In most Australian States and territories, a Working with Children Check is required for volunteers employed in roles that involve caring for the Children or vulnerable.

Police Checks reveal only those convictions that the state legislation deems releasable, and does not fall under the spent convictions scheme. However, Working with Children Checks takes into consideration all offences/issues that may impact on the suitability of volunteers for the roles. These Checks are not constrained by the "spent" convictions scheme.

Volunteer Checks requirements by States and Territories

Volunteers in any state in Australia may obtain a Volunteer Police Check through Australian National Character Check via our easy-to-use online application portal. The requirement for a Police Check for volunteers in Australia varies slightly across the different States.

The table below shows authorised government screening units that are responsible for working with children registrations in each Australian state and territory:

Reasons why Volunteer may need a Background/Police Check