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Home Other Checks and Registrations Working with Vulnerable People check (WWVP) requirements across Australia

Working with Vulnerable People check (WWVP) requirements across Australia

The Working with Vulnerable People check has become a crucial legal check in some Australian States and Territories to help reduce crime, sexual offences, improper behaviours and harm to the vulnerable members of our society.

Every community has its vulnerable population and it is the responsibility of the people, the community and the government to ensure that they are not manipulated, coerced or "bullied" out of their rights. This is why in some States and Territories, it is mandatory by legislation to present a Working With Vulnerable People check (WWVP) card.

Who are vulnerable people or groups?

Most times, organisations don't pay attention to the difference between the general services they render and how it interconnects with vulnerable groups. Should these services extend from popular care services to services that involve frequent direct proximity or communication with them, you may need a Working with Vulnerable People check.

The Australian Government (Department of Social Services) defines the vulnerable group as;

  • Persons under the age of 18 years (or a child) according to the law
  • People above the age of 18 years who may not be able to protect themselves against harm due to any; physical harm, age, illness, trauma or disability and other reasons.

However, the States’ laws and requirements guiding working with vulnerable groups vary. In the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), the Working with Vulnerable People Registration extensively covers all services that have direct or indirect contact with vulnerable populations. In other States, the check is equivalent to a Working with Children Check (WWCC) registration.

The difference between a police check and a Working with Vulnerable People Registration

The Working with Vulnerable People Registration and a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check are two different checks.

The Working with Vulnerable People Registration is an ongoing assessment of a person's eligibility to work with vulnerable persons and involves a check of a person's national criminal history and other disciplinary and police information.

A police check is a point in time check and is only current on the day of issue and is a list of offences from a person's criminal history.

Which States and Territories in Australia Require Working with Vulnerable People (WWVP) Checks?

The legislation across States and Territories in Australia varies in regards to WWVP Registrations. There is no single “national check” for wwvp registrations.

In the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Tasmania (TAS), the legislation refers to “working with vulnerable people (WWVP)” which includes children however is also broader to incorporate other populations which may also be considered as “vulnerable”.

In South Australia (SA), New South Wales (NSW), Queensland (QLD) and the Northern Territory (NT) the legislation refers to working with children (WWC) and pertains only to persons that have contact with children.

Does my business need a Working with Children or Working with Vulnerable People check as a recruitment process?

Depending on the legislation in your state or territory (as shown further below for each state and territory), businesses that work with children or vulnerable or people either at the fringes or the centre of the circle may need to request either a Working with Vulnerable People check or a Working with Children Check from their employees.

A major pushing force for this type of Check is the rising reports/cases of abuses, exploitations, and co. vulnerable people suffer from those who are "supposed to provide various services" for them.

Is my Working with Vulnerable People check valid in all Australian States and Territories?

Your Working with Vulnerable People (WWVP Check) is only valid in the State or Territory in which you apply for it. The WWVP check is not transferable between states.

One of the major causes for this is the specific legislation under each State and Territory that backs WWVP Checks. For example it means that an individual may need a Working with Children Check and a Working with Vulnerable People check obtained in Tasmania if they work in both states.

So, if you are requested to apply for a Working Vulnerable Check in Australia, know that some of the requirements will vary depending on the State or Territory in which you are employed.

Working with Vulnerable People (WWVP) Registration in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

The ACT has a comprehensive WWVP Registration Scheme via Access Canberra which covers children and also the broader population of persons that may be considered “vulnerable”.

The WWVP Scheme is based on the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act 2011.

Working with Vulnerable Checks are important in Canberra, ACT to help protect the vulnerable, aged and child population from exploitation and abuses. However, it should not be used as employment probity or check for unrelated roles as not every position requires a WWVP Check depending on stipulations by the Act.

, a vulnerable person is defined as a child under the age of 18 years or an adult who is experiencing disadvantage (e.g. physical or mental disability, the poor, cannot communicate effectively, etc). and who accesses a regulated activity or service related to the disadvantage.

Regulated activities which mandate working with vulnerable people checks include workers engaged in the following services:

  • Child accommodation services
  • Child education services
  • Child protection service
  • Childcare services
  • Coaching and tuition
  • Commercial services for children
  • Community services
  • Counselling and support services for children
  • Disability services
  • Justice facilities for children
  • Religious organisations
  • Respite care services
  • Services for homeless people
  • Victims of crime
  • Clubs, associations, and movements
  • Emergency services personnel
  • Housing and accommodation
  • Justice facilities
  • Mental health
  • Migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers
  • NDIS related activity
  • Prevention of crime
  • Services for addictions
  • Transport (e.g. Taxi drivers and Uber Drivers)
  • Vocational and educational training
Applicants based in the Australian Capital Territory can apply for a Working with Vulnerable People check (WWVP) via the government screening unit below:

Name of Government Department in ACTDirect Link to ACT Government Screening UnitDirect Link to
ACT Government
Screening Unit
Access Canberrahttps://www.accesscanberra.act.
gov.au/app/answers/
detail/a_id/1804/~/working-
with-vulnerable-people
-%28wwvp%29-registration

Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Checks for Business and Enterprise

Businesses and enterprises which do not fall under a “regulated activity” and therefore are not mandated to have workers carry a valid WWVP check can carry out Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Checks via Australian National Character Check. This can help mitigate workplace risk and assist employers and decision makers to make informed decisions when hiring new employees.

Organisations that are based can engage Australian National Character Check to obtain Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Checks online and fast.

Working with Vulnerable People (WWVP) Check in Tasmania (TAS)

Working with children in Tasmania is regulated under the Vulnerable People Regulations 2014 and mostly relates to child related work. Everyone whose roles include frequent contact with children will need to apply for a Working with Vulnerable People check (WWVP).

You are eligible to apply for a WWVP Checks in Tasmania if you are;

  • Above 16 years of age
  • Job roles involve work with children (people under 18 years)
  • Have or expecting to have more than incidental contacts with children as part of your duties
These fall under the job description of:

  • Teachers
  • Medical practitioners
  • Nurses
  • Nannies
  • Youth services
  • Child transport drivers
  • Child accommodation or mentoring services
  • Child related religious services
  • Child care services
  • Clubs and associations that have contact with children (e.g. sporting clubs, scout guides and co)
  • Coaching or Tuition Services
  • Legal practitioners working with child related services
  • Any other child related services which are commercial in nature
If deemed suitable for the role, an employer, decision maker may also require the job applicant to be registered with Tasmania’s WWVP scheme.

Applicants based in Tasmania can apply for a Working with Vulnerable People check via the government screening unit below:

Name of Government DepartmentDirect Link to TAS Government Screening UnitDirect Link to
TAS Government
Screening Unit
Consumer, Building and Occupational Serviceshttps://www.cbos.tas.gov.au/
topics/licensing- and-registration/
registrations/work-with-
vulnerable-people/rwvp
-ndis-worker-screening

Working with Vulnerable People (WWVP) Check in New South Wales (NSW)

there is currently no specific legislation covering working with vulnerable people checks (WWVP) however the registration required for an individual to be eligible to work with children is referred to as the Working with the Children Check (WWCC). The check remains valid for 5 years and the applicant is continuously monitored to see if they are eligible to maintain their registration.

Persons are exempt from the working with children check if their work is considered non-child related, for example:

  • A student who is working in a medical placement within a hospital or some other type of health service
  • A code, referee, umpire, linesperson or some other type of sporting official, if the work does not ordinarily involve some sort of contact (direct or indirect) with children for extended periods without the presence of other adults.
  • Catering for foods or equipment at some sort of a sporting event, cultural event or some other type of entertainment venue, etc.

Eligibility for a Working with Children Check

  • The Check is open to everyone from 18 years and above
  • All those whose job roles include physical or face to face interaction with children
Application requirements

When applying, you will be requested to provide all your details including:

  • Date and Place of Birth
  • Addresses of places resided
  • Proof of identity documents (must be originals).
Applicants can apply for their Working with Children Check via the details below:

Name of Government DepartmentDirect Link to NSW Government Screening UnitDirect Link to
NSW Government
Screening Unit
Office of the Children’s Guardianhttps://www.kidsguardian.
nsw.gov.au/child-safe-
organisations/working-
with-children-check

Working with Vulnerable People (WWVP) Check in Victoria (VIC)

The state of Victoria currently mandates a working with children check (WWCC) for child related work however there is no legislation that currently mandates a working with vulnerable people check (WWVP).

In Victoria it is mandatory by law to obtain a working with children check if you are over 18, are engaging in voluntary or paid work for a regulated activity, and your work involves direct contact (physical or face-to-face contact, or written, oral or electronic communication) with a child or a number of children.

Applicants can apply for their Working with Children Check via the authorised government screening unit below:

Name of Government DepartmentDirect Link to VIC Government Screening UnitDirect Link to
VIC Government
Screening Unit
Department of Justice and Community Safetyhttps://www.workingwithchildren
.vic.gov.au

Working with Vulnerable People (WWVP) Checks in South Australia (SA)

Other than child related work, currently there are no specific laws state legislation that mandate roles in the wider "Vulnerable work sphere" for obtaining a Working with Vulnerable People Check (WWVP Check).

It is important to note that persons who are engaged in employment with children must by law have a valid Working with Children Check (WWCC) registration. This includes (and is not limited to) child related engagements in the following fields:

  • Health workers
  • Child and family welfare workers
  • Education workers like teachers
  • Sporting or recreational workers
  • Religious or spiritual instruction personnel
  • Child care and child protection workers
  • Cultural related work
  • Entertainment workers
  • Residential based workers
Applicants can apply for a Working with Children Check via the details below:

Name of Government DepartmentDirect Link to SA Government Screening UnitDirect Link to
SA Government
Screening Unit
Department of Human Services (DHS) Screening Unithttps://screening.sa.gov.au
/types-of-check/new-working
-with-children-checks

Working with Vulnerable People (WWVP Check) in the Northern Territory (NT)

In NT there is currently no specific legislation covering working with vulnerable people checks (WWVP) however the registration required for an individual to be eligible to work with children is referred to as the Working with Children Clearance.

The working with children clearance is compulsory for those involved in roles that render services (paid or voluntary) to children in the Northern Territory. The Check is known as the Ochre Card in the Northern Territory (NT).

It is possible to get a Working with Children Check Clearance online in the Northern Territory when you apply through the NT POLICE SAFE portal. Payments can be done online through any of the various online payment portals including; Debit/Credit card, PayPal, and co.

You will need to provide some documents including;

  • An email address
  • Australian residential or postal address
  • Scanned copies of your IDs, passport sized self photo
Applicants based in the Northern Territory can apply for a Working with Children Clearance via the government screening unit below:

Name of Government Department in NTDirect Link to NT Government Screening UnitDirect Link to
NT Government
Screening Unit
NT Police Safe NThttps://nt.gov.au/emergency
/community-safety/apply
-for-a-working-with-children
-clearance

Working with Vulnerable People (WWVP) Check in Western Australia (WA)

Western Australia (WA) does not currently have legislation that mandates a broader working with vulnerable people registration scheme (WWVP) however there is legislation that mandates Working with Children Checks (WWC Checks) for any person that engages in paid work with children, described as ‘child-related work’ under WA’s WWC Act.

Any individual that hopes to work or currently works in a child related activity must apply for a Working with Children Check registration.

Applicants must be 18 or older by the time of application.

Applicants can apply for a Working with Children Check via the government screening unit below:

Name of Government DepartmentDirect Link to WA Government Screening UnitDirect Link to
WA Government
Screening Unit
Department of Communitieshttps://workingwithchildren.
wa.gov.au/about/
categories-of-child
-related-work

Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check for Business and Enterprise

Whilst a working with children check registration is mandatory by law for child related roles , a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check assists organisations to mitigate risk when engaging personnel with other (broader) vulnerable groups which may not be related to child related services - E.g. working with the aged, homeless, the poor, etc.

WA based businesses and enterprises can engage Australian National Character Check to obtain Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check certificates online and fast.

Working with Vulnerable People (WWVP) Check in Queensland (QLD)

The Australian State of Queensland does not currently stipulate legislation which specifically mandates working with vulnerable people (WWVP) registration., you must hold a Blue Card to work with children in Queensland, or run a child-related business. The blue card however specifically relates to child related services and does not include broader vulnerable groups.

For the Blue Card, QLD runs a "no card, no start" policy. All workers that fall under the State's provision for child related services must possess a Blue Card.

Applicants based in Queensland can apply for a Blue Card via the government screening unit below:

Name of Government DepartmentDirect Link to QLD Government Screening UnitDirect Link to
QLD Government
Screening Unit
Blue Card Serviceshttps://www.qld.gov.au/
law/laws-regulated-
industries-and-accountability
/queensland-laws-and-
regulations/regulated-industries
-and-licensing/blue-
card-services

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