Working With Children Checks
All children and vulnerable adults who interact with University members on ACU sites or within the wider community have a right to feel and be safe. ACU is committed to the safety and wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults who interact with University members.
Each state and territory in which ACU operates has legislation which applies to working with children or, in the case of ACT, vulnerable people. The University has responsibilities under such legislation including to ensure that Working with Children or Vulnerable People Checks (WWC/V Checks) are conducted before staff, students and other members of the University engage in certain activities which involve children or vulnerable people.
A child is a person under the age of 18.
What is a Working with Children or Vulnerable People Check?
A WWC/V Check refers to the following in the states or territory in which ACU operates or equivalent in other states in Australia:
|Blue Card System||Queensland|
|Working With Children Check||NSW|
|Working With Children Check||Victoria|
|Working with Vulnerable People Registration||ACT|
|Child-Related Employment Screening||South Australia|
A WWC/V Check is a detailed check of a person’s history to ensure they do not have any relevant criminal offences or other charges or findings that may suggest that they could be a risk to children or, in the ACT, vulnerable people (includes children). A WWC/V Check is undertaken when a person is engaged in activities which are child related. In the ACT, the working with children arrangements extend to those who provide direct services to vulnerable adults. The arrangements applicable to WWC/V Checks are set out in state and territory legislation and regulation. There are significant differences between jurisdictions, therefore, the website for the relevant state or territory government agency should always be consulted when determining whether a WWC/V check is required. A list of websites for these agencies is provided below.
|State / Territory||Agency and website|
|Queensland||Blue Card Services|
|NSW||Office of the Children’s Guardian|
|Victoria||Department of Justice and Regulation|
|ACT||Access Canberra - Working with vulnerable people (WWVP) registration|
|South Australia||Department for Communities and Social Inclusion|
(Correct as at January 2016)
Do academics teaching students under 18 years of age need to get a WWC/V Check?
In most cases they do not need a WWC/V Check. Under the relevant legislation applicable to the jurisdictions in which ACU operates, the core work of universities is not generally considered to be related to children or vulnerable adults even though their populations include students under 18 years as well as vulnerable adults (South Australia is an exception). Therefore, if you are an academic engaged to undertake teaching activities that require regular direct contact with, for example, a group of students, some of which are 17 year old students, you will not require a WWCV check, unless you are in South Australia.
The next section identifies some activities conducted by academic and professional staff, students or others on ACU sites and/or at other locations which, under some jurisdictions, may be considered to be related to children or vulnerable adults and therefore a WWC/V Check is required.
What types of ACU roles or activities require WWC/V Checks?
As previously stated, the requirements of each jurisdiction are different and so it is not possible to provide a clear and comprehensive list of roles or activities for which WWC/V Checks are required. A WWC/V Check is likely to be required under circumstances which include but are not limited to the following:
- there is significant regular direct contact with current or prospective ACU students under 18 years of age. The former may involve counselling or residential services. The latter may involve visits to schools, expos and careers fairs, etc.
- involvement in ACU programs for school aged students including for example the Uni Step Up Program, Equity Pathways Programs, HSC study programs and homework outreach programs.
- for students, participation in or, for staff, supervision of students engaged in:
o professional practice placements within education institutions (e.g. schools, kindergartens and early childhood centres) or organisations providing health and support services to children or vulnerable adults; or
o clinical practice in ACU Health Clinics or other clinical partner organisations.
- participation as community volunteers in organisations providing services to children or vulnerable adults.
- involvement in projects or research involving children (including ACU students under 18) or conducted in settings in which services are provided to children or vulnerable adults.
- participation in pilgrimages, excursions, field trips, etc which involve children or groups of vulnerable adults.
- in South Australia, any activities which involve direct contact with children or records relating to children (including students under 18 years of age).
What action should I take if I think a WWC/V Check is required?
If after reading the section above, What types of ACU roles or activities require WWC/V Checks?, you think that you, or someone you supervise or are responsible for, are engaged in such activities:
- consult the website for the relevant state or territory government agency (see above) to determine whether a WWC/V Check is required.
- If a WWC/V Check is required, an application should be made in accordance with the instructions on the agency website.
- For a staff member, provide a copy of your WWC/V Check clearance (which may be in the form of a card or a letter) to HR Advisory Service.
If you require assistance or further information regarding WWC/V checks please contact the HR Advisory Service, in the first instance.