Glossary

Agreement

An agreement (written or unwritten) by a person with another person or organisation, to carry out child-related work either for payment or on a voluntary basis.

Assessment Notice

This is the term used in the WWC legislation to refer to the notice given to a person when their WWC Check has been successful. It allows a person to carry out child-related work in Western Australia and the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands for three years across all categories of child-related work from date of issue till its expiry, unless cancelled sooner under the WWC Act. The Assessment Notice comes in the form of a WWC Card, which has a photograph, signature and WWC Card number.

Blanket Policy

A “blanket policy” is a policy an employer, volunteer organisation or education provider has made that requires all their employees, volunteers, students and self-employed contractors to apply for a WWC Check, regardless of whether a person engages in child-related work or not. It is unlawful to require a person to apply for a WWC Check if they are not engaged in child-related work. Employers, volunteer organisations and education providers are complying with the legislation by ensuring only those who meet the definition of child-related work apply for a WWC Check. 

Categories of child-related work

There are 18 categories of “child-related work” in the WWC Act. A person is only in child-related work if their usual duties involve or are likely involve contact with a child in connection with at least one of these categories and an exemption does not apply. Click here to view the full list of categories in Factsheet 1: What is 'Child-Related Work'?.

Child

A child is a person under the age of 18 years.

Child-related business

“Child-related business” is defined in the WWC Act as child-related work carried out by an individual for gain or reward otherwise than in the course of child-related employment.  This includes a self-employed person, a company director, partner in a business or a Managerial Officer in child-related work.

Child-related employment

Child-related employment includes:

  • child-related work carried out by an individual under a contract of employment or training contract (whether written or unwritten), or
  • child-related work carried out on a voluntary basis by an individual  under an agreement (whether written or unwritten) with another person, or
  • child-related work carried out by an individual as a minister of religion or in any other capacity for the purposes of a religious organisation, or
  • child-related work carried out by a student with another person that may or must be undertaken as part of the student's course of study.

Child-related work

Child related work has a specific definition in the WWC legislation. “Work” is child-related work if the usual duties of the work involve, or are likely to involve contact with a child in connection with at least one of the categories of child-related work, unless an exemption applies. 

Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands

The Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands are Australian external territories in the Indian Ocean, north-west of Australia.  They are under the jurisdiction of the Australian Government and are known as the Indian Ocean Territories. The Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004 applies to people in child-related work on Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

Contact

“contact” includes:

  • any form of physical contact
  • any form of oral communication, whether face to face, by telephone or otherwise, and
  • any form of electronic communication

But does not include contact in the normal course of duties between an employer and an employee or between employees of the same employer.

Education Provider

An education provider is:

  • a university established or continued under an Act of this State, the Commonwealth, or another State or a territory; or
  • the university company as defined in the Bond University Act 1987 (Queensland) section 2; or a college or other vocational and training institution as defined in the Vocational Education and Training Act 1996 section 5(1); or
  • a school specified under the Vocational Education and Training Act 1996 section 6(1); or
  • an authorised non-university institution, a recognised Australian university or
  • a recognised overseas university as defined in the Higher Education Act 2004 section 3; or
  • any other provider of an educational or vocational course prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph.

Five day threshold and defence

It is an offence to carry out child-related work without a current WWC Card or having applied for one. However, the WWC Act allows reasonable flexibility to enable employers, volunteer organisations and education providers to deliver services in unforeseen circumstances, such as the illness of a worker. The “threshold” is different for individuals (employees, volunteers, students and self-employed) and employers, volunteer organisations and education providers.

The five day threshold for employers, volunteer organisations and education providers does not apply to child-care services (who must never engage a person in child-related work without that person first applying for a WWC Check, if they do not already have one). All other employers, volunteer organisations and education providers do not commit an offence if they engage most people for no more than five days in a calendar year before that person has applied for a WWC Check. However this five day threshold does not apply if the employer, volunteer organisation or education provider knows that the person has been convicted of, or has a pending charge for a Class 1 or Class 2 offence, or has been issued with a Negative Notice, Interim Negative Notice or has withdrawn their application. For more information please read Factsheet 5: Information for Employers and Volunteer Organisations and Factsheet 6: Offences and Penalties for Employers and Organisations or if you are an education provider, Factsheet 7: Information for Education Providers and Factsheet 8: Offences and Penalties for Education Providers .

For individuals (employees, volunteers, students and self-employed), the five day threshold is a 'defence'. It allows most people to be engaged in child-related work on no more than five days during a calendar year without a WWC Check. It also gives individuals flexibility as they are not committing a breach of the Act if they suddenly find that they are required to engage in child-related work, for example if their role changes to include child-related work.

However this defence does not apply to everyone and certain persons must first apply for a WWC Check prior to commencing any child-related work, otherwise they will be committing an offence with penalties of up to a $60,000 fine and 5 years imprisonment. To view a full list of exclusions please read Factsheet 9: Information for Employees and Volunteers or Factsheet 11: Information for Students or Factsheet 13: Information for Self-Employed People.

If a person does not apply for a WWC Check because they do not engage in child-related work for more than five days in a calendar year, they still have obligations under the WWC Act which include to:

The five day threshold is not an exemption from the Act.  People in child-related work may still apply, and employers, volunteer organisations and education providers can require that they apply for a WWC Check.

Interim Negative Notice

An Interim Negative Notice may be issued in some cases when the WWC Screening Unit receives information relevant to the immediate safety of children (e.g. a charge or conviction for a relevant offence). This prohibits a person from engaging in child-related work during the assessment or re-assessment until a final decision is made.

If the person is a paid employee, volunteer or student a copy of the Interim Negative Notice is given to their employer, volunteer organisation or education provider. The employer, volunteer organisation or education provider must ensure the person is removed from child-related work until a final decision is made.

Negative Notice

If the WWC Screening Unit’s assessment or re-assessment of a person’s eligibility to hold a WWC Card indicates an unacceptable risk to children they will be issued with a Negative Notice.

A Negative Notice prohibits a person from engaging in any child-related work and remains current until cancelled under the WWC Act. 

If the person is a paid employee, volunteer or student a copy of the Negative Notice is given to their employer, volunteer organisation or education provider.  The employer, volunteer organisation or education provider must ensure the person is removed from child-related work.

Non-conviction charge

A non-conviction charge is a charge of an offence that has been disposed of by court otherwise than by way of a conviction.  Examples of a non-conviction charge include:

  • Where a person is found not-guilty of a charge for an offence;
  • Where a charge against a person is withdrawn or a prosecution is discontinued; and
  • Where a conviction is overturned or set aside on appeal.

One-off national events and national tours exemption

The one-off national events and national tours exemption:

  • only applies to a person who is not ordinarily resident in Western Australia;
  • is specifically limited to one-off national events or national tours organised by a recognised body in connection with specific categories of child-related work (applies ONLY to categories 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17 or 18);
  • is for a non-cumulative period of 30 days within a 12 month period (the person can access the exemption once in a 12 month period whether they use 10 days or the 30 days for that one-off national event or national tour); and
  • cannot be used in conjunction with the short-term visitor exemption. A person cannot use both exemptions in the same 12 month period.

The terms “national event” and “national tour” are defined to specifically target the exemption to those national and state organisations (recognised bodies) that organise large events or tours across the country. 

A national event means an event taking place in Western Australia over a specific period of time:

  • that is organised at state, territory or national level by a recognised body for sporting, educational, religious, cultural, recreational or skill development purposes; and
  • in which children from more than one state, territory or country are participating.

e.g. a national Scout jamboree.

A national tour means a tour taking place over a specific period of time:

  • that is organised at state, territory or national level by a recognised body for sporting, educational, religious, cultural, recreational or skill development purposes; and
  • in which children from more than one state, territory or country are participating; and
  • that makes stops at several different venues and locations in Australia, including at least one stop in Western Australia.

e.g. The Australian Football League (AFL) organises for the Under 18 All Australian Team to tour football clubs in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia.  In WA the team will be playing in Perth, Geraldton and Bunbury, where the interstate coaches and volunteers travelling with them will supervise and organise coaching clinics for WA and interstate children.  

Parent

A “parent” of a child means a person who:

  • is the mother, father, stepfather, stepmother of the child; or
  • at law has responsibility for the long term care, welfare and development of the child; or the day-to-day care, welfare and development of the child; or
  • is in a de facto relationship with a person referred to in either of the above; or
  • is specified as the child's prospective adoptive parent under the Adoption Act 1994 (WA). 

Pending charge

A “pending charge” means a charge for an offence that has not yet been finalised by a court.

Phasing in arrangements

“Phasing in arrangements” was the term used to describe the gradual introduction of the WWC Check across various categories of child-related work once the Act was proclaimed in 2006. Employees, volunteers and self-employed people who were in child-related work had different phasing-in dates and were required to apply between 2006 and 2010.

Relative

"relative" in relation to a child, means

  • the child's -
            (i) parent, grandparent or other ancestor;
            (ii) sibling;
            (iii) uncle or aunt;
            (iv) cousin;
            (v)  spouse or de facto partner,
    whether the relationship is established by, or traced through, consanguinity, marriage, a de facto relationship, a written law or a natural relationship;
  • in the case of a child who is a descendant of Aboriginal people of Australia - a person regarded under the customary law of tradition of the child's community as the equivalent of a person mentioned in paragraph (a); or
  • in the case of a child who is a descendant of the indigenous inhabitants of the Torres Strait Islands - a person regarded under the customary law or tradition of the Torres Strait Islands as the equivalent of a person mentioned in paragraph (a).

Relevant change

A relevant change in a person’s criminal record, whether or not that person has a previous criminal record, occurs if a person is charged with or convicted of a Class 1 offence or a Class 2 offence. Click here to read Factsheet 3: Class 1 and Class 2 Offences.

Short term visitors to Western Australia exemption

There is an exemption which applies to work carried out by visitors to Western Australia, where the person is not ordinarily a resident in Western Australia. This exemption only applies during the two week period after the person arrives in Western Australia and cannot exceed a total of two weeks in any period of 12 months. It also cannot be used in conjunction with the one-off national events and national tours exemption.  A person cannot use both exemptions in the same 12 month period.

Spent conviction

A spent conviction is a conviction that a person does not need to ordinarily declare.  A person who has a conviction declared spent effectively limits the requirement to disclose that conviction.  However, certain government departments and other bodies have exemptions under the spent convictions legislation and have access to spent convictions.  For the purpose of implementing the WWC Act, the WWC Screening Unit is permitted to access spent convictions.

Student

A 'student' means a person who:

  • is undertaking an educational or vocational course of study with an education provider; and
  • may or must undertake child-related work as part of that course.

Volunteer work

A volunteer is an individual who engages in child-related work for an employer, volunteer organisation or education provider for no financial reward or remuneration. 

A person who receives payments that just cover the costs of carrying out their child-related work is considered to receive “no financial reward” and is considered to be a volunteer by the WWC Screening Unit.

Before signing a WWC Check Application form or confirming an online renewal form, employers and organisations should carefully consider whether any amount they pay the individual can reasonably be said to be:

  • income, or
  • payment which only covers costs.

When making this decision employers and organisations may find it useful to consider the following questions:

  • What are the costs to the individual providing the work? Their costs may include costs of caring for a child (eg food and clothing), travel expenses, phone calls, uniforms, stationery, sports equipment and other items if they are necessary to engage in their child-related work.
  • Over what period of time is this service provided and the payments made? For example if payment provided to the individual is no more that can be reasonably expected to cover the person’s costs incurred over the year, the person may be considered a volunteer.
  • Does the payment the individual receives exceed the costs of the individual carrying out the work? If so, they would be considered a paid employee. It is irrelevant whether the work occurs frequently or infrequently and whether there are small frequent payments or large infrequent payments.

An employer, volunteer organisation or education provider may decide that an individual receiving a payment is a volunteer. If so, employers and organisations must keep records to reasonably justify their decisions.

Working with Children Card (WWC Card)

If person’s application or renewal for a WWC Check is successful they will be issued with an Assessment Notice in the form of a WWC Card. Although the WWC Act refers to an Assessment Notice it is more commonly known as a WWC Card. The WWC Card includes a photograph, signature, expiry date, WWC Card number and other personal details. 

Working with Children Check

The WWC Check is a compulsory screening strategy in Western Australia and the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands for people who engage in certain paid or unpaid work with children, described as “child-related work” under the Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004.

The WWC Check includes a National Police History Check, but is different from a National Police Certificate because it involves the ongoing collection and assessment of information that is relevant to whether a child may be exposed to a risk of harm should a person engage in child-related work.

Page last updated27 June 2016