Parents and Community

Keeping children safe is a whole of community responsibility. Parents make a vital contribution towards creating and maintaining child-safe and friendly environments.

Why do certain people who work with children need a WWC Check?

The WWC Check aims to improve the safety of children in the community. It helps to ensure that people who have criminal records that indicate they may harm a child do not gain positions of trust with children in certain paid, unpaid and volunteer work. Unfortunately research shows that people who want to harm children sometimes seek work that puts them in close contact with children.

Where a person is engaged in child-related work as defined by the WWC Act the law requires them to apply for a WWC Check or hold a valid WWC Card. There are responsibilities for both individuals and organisations to ensure they are complying with the WWC Act.

Who needs a WWC Check?

Certain people in child-related work in Western Australia and/or the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands must have a WWC Check. For more information about the categories of child-related work and who needs a WWC Check please click here.

There are also some people who are not engaged in child-related work and others who are exempt, which means they are ineligible to apply for a WWC Check.

Some people who are exempt are:

  • volunteers and unpaid students on placement who are under 18 years;
  • parents volunteering in connection with their child, except if volunteering on overnight camps, for example a parent volunteering at a school where their child is enrolled is exempt (even if their child is not in the class they are volunteering);
  • short term visitors to Western Australia carrying out child-related work during the period of two weeks after their arrival in Western Australia, and for no more than two weeks in any period of 12 months.

For a full list of exemptions please see Factsheet 2: Child-Related Work and Exemptions.

Why are parents exempt from requiring a WWC Check?

There are many situations where parents volunteering with their child are exempt from obtaining a WWC Check. The WWC Screening Unit along with other similar schemes nationally considers that voluntary work done by parents to support their children should not be regulated by legislation; instead other safeguards should be implemented. For more information about the parent volunteer exemption see Factsheet 4: The Parent Volunteer Exemption.

Other safeguarding strategies include screening such as a Volunteer National Police Certificate or a National Police Certificate, good supervision and training, enculturating child safe policies and procedures and involving children. For more information about safeguarding please read our Safer Organisations Safer Children booklet.

What you can do to help create safer environments for children

Parents and community members can help create safer environments for children by promoting and supporting the WWC Check. By asking to see a person’s WWC Card or including WWC Check information in contracts and policies.

If you are a parent you can ask to see the WWC Card of all self-employed people who work with your children such as babysitters, nannies, counsellors, dance teachers, modelling teachers, music tutors and children’s entertainers. You can also ask an organisation where your child is involved if all staff and/or volunteers have WWC Checks if they require them.

If a person does not have a WWC Card but has applied for a WWC Check, their receipt is proof that they have a pending application. In most cases this allows them to start or continue their child-related work. However if they have a conviction for a Class 1 offence committed when an adult, an Interim Negative Notice or Negative Notice they may not do so.

Tips for parents

When considering a program, activity or service for your child or while your child is part of the program, activity or service, you can help safeguard you child by:

  • Asking questions - talk with staff about their child protection policies, staff recruitment, training and supervision, their code of conduct, how they handle complaints and if they welcome parent and children's involvement.
  • Looking around - take the time to have a look around, drop in at unexpected times, observe how staff respond to children's needs, consider if the children are happy and environment clean and well cared for and be sure to ask other parents what they think about the organisation and service.
  • Talking with your child - regularly ask your child about their experience of the program, activity or service and how they feel about it.
  • Getting involved - taking part in your child's activities helps keep them safe and you informed of what is happening in their world.

You may also find the following websites useful:

New South Wales Commission for Children & Young People

Safe Clubs 4 Kids

Network of Community Activities Protect your Child from Sexual Harm: A Fact Sheet on Sexual Grooming

Page last updated27 June 2016