The Working with Children (WWC) Screening Unit, within the Department of Communities, is responsible for administering the WWC Check in Western Australia (WA) and the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in accordance with the Working with Children (Screening) Act 2004.
In administering the legislation, the WWC Screening Unit seeks to Educate, Engage and Enforce.
The WWC Screening Unit provides 'individuals' and 'organisations' with information about the WWC Check to help them understand their obligations. We do this through free online and face to face information sessions and workshops and by raising awareness in the general community and across sectors.
The WWC Screening Unit works proactively with organisations, industry, and the community to increase awareness and understanding of what is required by law and how to comply. Initiatives include regular engagement with the community and relevant organisations, providing Ready, Check, Chat! one on one consultation sessions for organisations to discuss their specific queries, and representing and promoting the WWC Screening Unit at various sector and industry events.
The WWC Screening Unit is the regulator for WWC Checks in WA and is responsible for enforcing the legislation in both proactive and reactive ways. This is done by detecting breaches, bringing them to the attention of the alleged offender, taking action (corrective or preventative), applying penalties by prosecution, and providing deterrence.
We recognise that most people want to help keep children and young people safe, however, as compliance lessens our regulatory response must increase.
Compliance checks are conducted to assess an organisation’s compliance with its obligations under the WWC Act. A sample of typical compliance check questions are provided on our Resources page.
Proactive Compliance Program
The Proactive Compliance Program involves identifying high-risk areas within larger industry or sector groups and targeting our activities to improve understanding, increase compliance and identify potential non-compliance.
Previous Proactive Compliance Programs have focused on:
- babysitting and childminding services
- sport and recreation sector.
Prosecutions are an important part of enforcement and are necessary to ensure that there is a credible consequence for wilfully non-compliant persons or organisations that pose significant risks to children.
Media statements on WWC Check prosecutions can be found on the Department of Communities announcements page.
The Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Amendment Act 2022 (Amendment Act) significantly strengthened protections for children by addressing critical recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the statutory review of the Working With Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004, and concerns raised by the WA Auditor General.
The WWC Screening Unit offers free online information sessions on the amendments to help individuals and organisations understand the changes and what they mean for them. Register for an amendments information session on our Eventbrite page.
Policies and frameworks
There are many ways that employers and organisations who work with children can create a friendly, child-safe environment. The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations outline ten principles to help organisations develop cultures that create and promote child safety and wellbeing and reflect the child safe standards recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
A WWC Check is one strategy to help keep children safe and falls within National Principle 5 – People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice.
For more information about creating child safe organisations in Western Australia visit the Commissioner for Children and Young People’s website.