The Royal Commission recommended that the Australian Government facilitate and manage a national model for Working with Children Checks (WWCCs), and that jurisdictions amend their WWCC laws to implement common minimum standards. The WWCCs Report contains 36 recommendations. You can read the Victorian Government’s response to the WWCCs Report here.
The Victorian Government accepted 14 recommendations, which are already implemented. A number of these were implemented through amendments to the Working with Children Act 2005, including:
- expanding the definition of direct contact to ensure WWCCs are required where child-related work involves oral, written and electronic communication, as well as face-to-face and physical contact with a child
- removing references to supervision, to ensure WWCCs are required regardless of whether the child-related work is supervised or not
- requiring kinship carers (family members or other people of significance to a child placed in their custody as part of an out-of-home care arrangement) to obtain a WWCC
- ensuring non-conviction charges (charges that have been finally dealt with other than by a conviction or finding of guilt) for serious sexual, violent or drug offences are considered as part of a WWCC assessment or re-assessment
- new powers to compel applicants to produce further information if they are suspected of committing an offence against the Working with Children Act 2005
The other recommendations in the WWCCs Report require coordinated national action. Victoria is working with the Australian Government and state and territory governments to progress these recommendations, the majority of which will be the subject of national standards. The Victorian Government accepted in principle 16 of those recommendations, and is giving further consideration to 5 recommendations, including restricting appeal rights for individuals convicted of the most serious offences under the Working with Children Act 2005.
The Victorian Government is working with the Australian Government and other states and territories to develop national standards which will give effect to the minimum standards recommended by the Royal Commission.