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Introduction

From 1 September 2019, VIT has changed the way it registers and regulates teachers in Victoria. In particular, it now assesses certain types of conduct to determine whether a person is suitable to be registered, or to remain registered, as a teacher. These assessments are in addition to the existing ways in which we assess the suitability of teachers.

These new assessments more closely align with the way Working with Children Check Victoria (WWCCV) assess whether a person can be issued with a Working with Children (WWC) clearance (previously known as a Working with Children Check or WWCC) that permits them to engage in child related work. These assessments will include considering whether the person has been the subject of any of the following

  • Category A offences
  • Category B offences
  • Category C conduct
  • WWC exclusions (previously known as negative notices)
  • WWC interim exclusions (previously known as interim negative notices).

Read our news article Changes to VIT’s teacher registration scheme for more information.

How do I notify WWCCV of any child-related work (other than teaching)?

You should submit an online form directly to WWCCV outlining the details of your child-related work.

What does suitable to teach mean?

Suitability to teach means whether the person is fit to teach and whether the person is physically or mentally able to teach.

This includes assessing whether the character, reputation and conduct of the person are such that the person should be allowed to teach in a school and / or early childhood service.

This includes consideration of the person’s criminal history, whether the person has engaged in reportable conduct, whether their right to teach or to be employed as a teacher in Australia, or any other country, has been cancelled or suspended, and whether the person is seriously incompetent in their teaching practice.

It also includes assessing whether the person has a physical or mental impairment, disability, condition or disorder including substance abuse or dependence that substantially detrimentally affects their ability to teach.

What is a Category A offence?

Under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006, a Category A offence includes (but is not necessarily limited to) the following

  • sexual offences where the person was an adult and the person against whom the offence was committed was a child;
  • child abuse material offences where the person was an adult;
  • murder or attempted murder;
  • rape or attempted rape;
  • forced marriage involving a person under 18 years of age; and
  • using a carriage service for sexual activity and /or to transmit an indecent communication to a person under the age of 16 years. 

If a person makes an application to VIT for registration / renewal of registration, the VIT must refuse the application if the person has been charged, convicted or found guilty of a Category A offence. Prior to making this decision, VIT will provide the person with an opportunity to provide further information and documentation relating to the Category A offence.

If the person is a registered teacher, the VIT must

  • suspend their registration if they have been charged with a Category A offence; or
  • cancel their registration if they have been convicted or found guilty of a Category A offence.

Prior to making this decision, VIT will provide the person with an opportunity to provide further information and documentation relating to the Category A offence.

What is a Category B offence?

Under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006, a Category B offence includes (but it not necessarily limited to) the following

  • sexual offences (other than rape or attempted rape) where the person against whom the offence was committed was not a child;
  • sexual offences where the person who committed the offence and the person against whom the offence was committed were children;
  • stalking;
  • distributing an intimate image or threating to distribute an intimate image;
  • some violent offences (other than murder and attempted murder); and
  • some drug offences such as trafficking or supplying a drug of dependence to a child.

If a person makes an application to VIT for registration / renewal of registration, VIT must refuse the application if

  • the person is currently charged with, or has been convicted or found guilty of a Category B offence; or 
  • VIT considers that the person poses an unjustifiable risk to children.

Prior to making this decision, VIT will provide the person with an opportunity to provide further information and documentation relating to the Category B offence.

If the person is a registered teacher, VIT may suspend all of their registrations if the person has been charged with a Category B offence.

Prior to making this decision, VIT will provide the person with an opportunity to provide further information and documentation relating to the Category B offence.

What is Category C conduct?

Under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006, Category C conduct includes (but is not necessarily limited to) the following

  • convictions or findings of guilt of an indictable offence;
  • non-conviction charge of a Category A or B offence;
  • conduct that forms the basis of any disciplinary action taken against a registered teacher by an employer; and
  • conduct that forms the basis of any disciplinary action that has been taken against a person by an entity for which the person works (including as a volunteer) of which VIT becomes aware of under the reportable conduct scheme.

If a person makes an application to VIT for registration / renewal of registration, the VIT may refuse the application if the person has engaged in Category C conduct and one of the following applies

  • the ability of the person to teach in a school / early childhood service is likely to be affected because of the conduct they engaged in; or 
  • it is not in the public interest to allow the person to teach in a school / early childhood service because of the conduct they engaged in.

Prior to making this decision, VIT will provide the person with an opportunity to provide further information and documentation relating to the Category C conduct.

What is an indictable offence?

Offences in Victoria are classified as either indictable offences or summary offences.

Indictable offences are more serious offences and include theft, causing injury, drug offences, rape and murder. Indictable offences are usually heard before a judge and jury in the County Court of Victoria or the Supreme Court of Victoria. Some indictable offences may also be heard in the Magistrates Court of Victoria.

All offences in the Crimes Act 1958 and the Wrongs Act 1958 are deemed to be indictable offences, unless the relevant legislation indicates otherwise.

All offences in other legislation that are described as being level 1-6 or punishable by level 1-6 imprisonment, fine or both are also presumed to be indictable offences, unless the relevant legislation indicates otherwise.

Summary offences are less serious offences and usually include offences such as disorderly behaviour, some assault offences, some driving offences, and wilful damage to property. Summary offences may be heard and determined in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria.

All offences that do not meet the definition of indictable offences above are presumed to be summary offences, unless the relevant legislation indicates otherwise.

What does ‘committed for trial’ mean?

If an indictable offence must be heard in the County Court of Victoria or the Supreme Court of Victoria, a magistrate in the Magistrates Court of Victoria will usually first decide if there is enough evidence for the case to proceed in these higher courts.

The magistrate may conduct a Committal Hearing to make this decision. This is a court hearing where the Magistrate will hear some of evidence and decide if there is enough evidence to support the case. 

If there is insufficient evidence, the Magistrate will dismiss the charges. 

If the Magistrate decides that there is sufficient evidence, the Magistrate will decide that the person is ‘committed for trial.’ This means that the case will be transferred to the County Court of Victoria or the Supreme Court of Victoria to be listed for a trial before a judge and jury to determine whether the person is guilty of some or all of the criminal offences for which they have been charged. 

What is common assault?

Common assault is a criminal offence in the Summary Offences Act 1966. It refers to circumstances where a person unlawfully assaults another person. The maximum penalty is 15 penalty units or imprisonment for three (3) months.

What is aggravated assault?

Aggravated assault is a criminal offence in the Summary Offences Act 1966. It refers to any of the following circumstances

  • where a person has been convicted of assault or battery of a male child whose age does not exceed 14 years;
  • where a person has been convicted of assault or battery of any female;
  • where a person who is in the company of another person(s) and assaults another person;
  • where a person assaults another person by kicking; and
  • where a person assaults another person with any weapon or instrument.
What is a ‘non-conviction charge’?

Non-conviction charge is a term used in the Education and Training Reform Act 2006. It refers to circumstances where the charges against a person for a Category A offence or Category B offence have been finally dealt with other than by way of a conviction or finding of guilt.

A charge is finally dealt with (other than by way of a conviction or finding of guilt) in the following circumstances

  • the charge is withdrawn;
  • the person dies without the charge being determined;
  • the charge is dismissed by the court;
  • the person is discharged by a court following a committal hearing;
  • the person is acquitted or found not guilty; or
  • the person is discharged by the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria after completing a diversion program.
What is a WWC exclusion?

A WWC exclusion (previously known as a negative notice) indicates that a person has made an application to WWCCV and they have been refused a WWC clearance (previously known as a Working with Children Check or WWCC). It means that the person is not permitted to engage in child related work.

Further information can be found here.

If a person makes an application for registration / renewal of registration, VIT must refuse the application if the person has received a WWC exclusion. Prior to making this decision, VIT will provide the person with an opportunity to provide further information and documentation relating to the WWC exclusion.

If the person is a registered teacher, VIT must cancel their registration if they have received a WWC exclusion. Prior to making this decision, VIT will provide the person with an opportunity to provide further information and documentation about the WWC exclusion.

What is a WWC interim exclusion?

A WWC interim exclusion (previously known as an interim negative notice) indicates that a person has made an application to WWCCV and a preliminary assessment has been made that the person may be refused a WWC clearance (previously known as a Working with Children Check or WWCC). Before making a final decision, WWCCV will issue the person with a WWC interim exclusion and provide the person with an opportunity to provide additional information and documentation before a final decision is made.

Further information can be found here.

If the person is a registered teacher, VIT must suspend their registration if they have received a WWC interim exclusion. Prior to making this decision, VIT will provide the person with an opportunity to provide further information and documentation relating to the WWC interim exclusion.

What is the reportable conduct scheme?

The reportable conduct scheme is established by the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005. The Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) is responsible for administering the scheme. Under the reportable conduct scheme, the heads of certain organisations must

  • notify the CCYP within three (3) business days of becoming aware of a reportable allegation;
  • investigate the allegation; and
  • update the CCYP with detailed information about the reportable allegation, the investigation, the finding, and any action that has been taken in response to the reportable allegation.

Further information can be found here.

What is a reportable allegation?

A reportable allegation is an allegation, based on a reasonable belief, that an employee or volunteer has committed reportable conduct or misconduct that may involve reportable conduct. 

A reportable allegation may be made about employees or volunteers who are over 18 years of age and who work or volunteer for organisations covered by the reportable conduct scheme. 

Further information can be found here.

What is reportable conduct?

Reportable conduct is defined in the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005. It means

  • sexual offences (against, with or in the presence of, a child);
  • sexual misconduct (against, with or in the presence of, a child);
  • physical violence (against, with or in the presence of, a child);
  • behaviour that causes significant emotional or psychological harm; and
  • significant neglect.

Further information can be found here.

What are my current reporting obligations as a principal of a school or manager of an early childhood service?

Employers of registered teachers must continue to notify VIT of the following information

  • any action taken against the registered teacher in response to the following allegations;
    • serious incompetence;
    • serious misconduct;
    • unfitness to be a teacher; or
    • the teacher’s ability to practice as a teacher is seriously detrimentally affected or likely to be seriously detrimentally affected because of an impairment.
  • any other action that may be relevant to the teacher’s fitness to teach.

From 1 September 2019, employers of registered teachers must also notify VIT if the registered teacher

  • is currently charged with, or has been convicted or found guilty of a Category A offence or Category B offence; or
  • has been given a WWC exclusion (previously a negative notice).
What is child related work?

Child related work is work that usually involves direct contact with a child/children in particular services, places, bodies or activities. It does not include occasional direct contact with children that is incidental to the work.

Direct contact with children means any contact between the person and the child that involves

  • physical contact;
  • face to face contact;
  • contact by post or other written communication;
  • contact by telephone or other oral communication; and
  • contact by email or other electronic communication.

The particular services, places, bodies or activities include (but are not limited to the following)

  • child care services;
  • children’ services and education and care services;
  • educational institutions;
  • accommodation services specifically provided for students in connection with student exchange programs;
  • cultural, recreational or sporting clubs, associations or movements;
  • religious organisations;
  • babysitting or child minding services;
  • fostering children;
  • coaching or tuition services; and
  • business providing
    • entertainment or party services for children;
    • gym or play facilities for children;
    • photography services specifically for children; and
    • talent and beauty competitions held for children.

Child related work can be paid, unpaid or voluntary work.

Further information about child related work can be found here.

What is a WWC clearance?

The WWC clearance (previously known as a Working with Children Check or WWCC) is a screening process for assessing and re-assessing people who work with or care for children in Victoria.

The WWC clearance is administered by WWCCV and is governed by the Worker Screening Act 2020 (previously the Working with Children Act 2005).

The WWC clearance includes considering the person’s criminal history and relevant professional conduct findings.

Do I need a WWC clearance?

Registered teachers will continue to be exempt from requiring a WWC clearance (previously known as a Working with Children Check or WWCC), but will be required to notify WWCCV if they engage in any paid or voluntary child-related work (other than their teaching).

If you are undertaking child related work and your employer wants to know more about your exemption, further information can be found here.

Who is Working with Children Check Victoria (WWCCV)?

Working With Children Check Victoria (WWCCV) administer the working with children scheme on behalf of the Department of Justice and Community Safety Victoria.

Their powers and functions are outlined in the Worker Screening Act 2020 (previously the Working with Children Act 2005).

The working with children scheme requires people who engage in child related work to obtain a working with children assessment notice unless they are exempt from doing so.

Further information about WWCCV can be found here.

I perform child related work (other than teaching) for an organisation. Even though I am a registered teacher, they require me to have a WWC clearance. Do I have to get one?

Even though you are a registered teacher and are exempt from requiring a WWC clearance (previously known as a Working with Children Check or WWCC) many organisations may still require you to get a WWC clearance. This may be a policy decision made by the organisation. It may also be the organisation’s way of complying with the Child Safe Standards, and trying to ensure that all children are safe.

If you would like to engage in child related work (other than teaching), you will need to check the organisation’s policies regarding the need for a WWC clearance.

If you are undertaking child related work and your employer wants to know more about your exemption, further information can be found here.

As a registered teacher, what are my current reporting obligations to VIT?

Registered teachers must continue to notify VIT of the following information

  • change of their name;
  • change of their contact details (email, phone and address); and
  • when they commence and cease employment at a school or early childhood service.

From 1 September 2019, registered teachers must also notify VIT if they

  • are committed for trial; or
  • have been convicted or found guilty of
    • a Category A or Category B offence;
    • an indictable offence;
    • a common assault; or
    • aggravated assault.
As a registered teacher, what is my obligation to WWCCV?

A registered teacher who engages in any paid or voluntary child related work (other than teaching in a school or an early childhood service) must notify WWCCV of the following information

  • the person or organisation that employs them to engage in child related work; and
  • any agency which they are listed as available to engage in child related work.

For further information about how to discharge these obligations, please contact WWCCV.

Why do registered teachers have to provide information to WWCCV?

Registered teachers are exempt from obtaining a WWC clearance (previously known as a Working with Children Check or WWCC) in order to engage in child related work (other than their teaching).

If the registration of a teacher is suspended or cancelled, they are no longer able to engage in child-related work unless they have obtained a WWC clearance.

From 1 September 2019, organisations who engage registered teachers in any paid or voluntary child-related work (other than teaching) can be informed when a teacher’s registration is suspended or cancelled. This will help ensure that the person has obtained WWC clearance before continuing to engage in the child-related work.

This will occur through the following process

  1. Registered teachers will be required to notify WWCCV of the child-related work (other than teaching) they undertake.
  2. VIT will be required to advise WWCCV when a teacher’s registration is suspended or cancelled.

WWCCV will then be able to notify the organisations that engage the teacher in child-related work (other than their teaching) that the teacher’s registration has been suspended or cancelled and that they will be required to obtain a WWC clearance before they continue to engage in child-related work.

I have received a WWC exclusion from WWCCV. What should I do now?

If you have made an application for registration / renewal of registration, you should declare this information in your application to the VIT.

If you have already submitted your application for registration / renewal of registration, you should notify VIT as soon as possible.

If you have been given a WWC exclusion (previously known as a negative notice), VIT must refuse your application for registration / renewal of registration. Prior to making this decision, VIT will provide you with an opportunity to provide further information and documentation relating to the exclusion. You are not able to apply for registration within five (5) years after having been given a WWC exclusion unless this has since been set aside or you have been given a WWC clearance (previously known as a Working with Children Check or WWCC).

If you are a registered teacher, you should contact VIT as soon as possible.

If you have been given an exclusion, VIT must cancel your registration. Prior to making this decision, VIT will provide you with an opportunity to provide further information and documentation relating to the exclusion.

I have received a WWC interim exclusion from WWCCV. What should I do now?

If you have made an application for registration / renewal of registration, you should declare this information in your application to the VIT.

If you have already submitted your application for registration / renewal of registration, you should notify VIT as soon as possible.

This information will be taken into account in assessing your application for registration / renewal of registration.

If you are a registered teacher, you should contact VIT as soon as possible. If you have been given a WWC interim exclusion (previously known as an interim negative notice), VIT must suspend your registration. Prior to making this decision, VIT will provide you with an opportunity to provide further information and documentation relating to the WWC interim exclusion.

I have been charged, convicted or found guilty of a criminal offence in Victoria. What should I do now?

If you have made an application for registration / renewal of registration, you should declare this information in your application to the VIT. 

If you have already submitted your application for registration / renewal of registration, you should notify VIT as soon as possible.

This information will be taken into account in assessing your application for registration / renewal of registration.

In the case of being charged, convicted or found guilty of a Category A offence, VIT must refuse your application for registration / renewal of registration. Prior to making this decision, VIT will provide you with an opportunity to provide further information and documentation about the Category A offence.

In the case of being charged, convicted or found guilty of a Category B offence, VIT must refuse your application for registration / renewal of registration if it considers that you pose an unjustifiable risk to children. Prior to making this decision, VIT will provide you with an opportunity to provide further information and documentation about the Category B offence.

In the case of engaging in Category C conduct, VIT may refuse your application for registration / renewal of registration if VIT believes that you meet one of the following criteria

  • your ability to teach in a school / early childhood service is likely to be affected because of the conduct that you engaged in; and
  • it is not in the public interest to allow you to teach in a school / early childhood service because of the conduct you engaged in.

Prior to making this decision, VIT will provide you with an opportunity to provide further information and documentation about the Category C conduct.

If you are a registered teacher, you have obligations to notify VIT of certain convictions or findings of guilt. However, in all cases, it is recommended that you advise VIT as soon as possible.

If you have been charged with a Category A offence, VIT must suspend your registration. If you have convicted or found guilty of a Category A offence, VIT must cancel your registration. Prior to making these decisions, VIT will provide you with an opportunity to provide further information and documentation about the Category A offence.

If you have been charged with a Category B offence, VIT may suspend your registration. Prior to making this decision, VIT will provide you with an opportunity to provide further information and documentation about the Category B offence.

This information will be taken into account in assessing/re-assessing your suitability to remain registered as a teacher.

I have been charged, convicted or found guilty of a criminal offence elsewhere in Australia or overseas. What should I do now?

If you have made an application for registration / renewal of registration, you should declare this information in your application to the VIT. 

If you have already submitted your application for registration / renewal of registration, you should notify VIT as soon as possible.

This information will be taken into account in assessing your application for registration / renewal of registration and whether you are suitable to be registered as a teacher. 

The VIT will also determine whether the criminal offence amounts to a Category A offence, Category B offence, or Category C conduct and if so, consider whether it must refuse / may refuse your application for registration / renewal of registration.

If you are already registered as a teacher, you have obligations to notify VIT of certain convictions or findings of guilt. However, in all cases, it is recommended that you advise VIT as soon as possible.

This information will be taken into account in assessing whether you remain suitable to be registered as a teacher.

The VIT will also determine whether the criminal offence amounts to a Category A offence, Category B offence, or Category C conduct and if so, consider whether it must/may suspend or cancel your registration.

I have been the subject of a reportable allegation. What should I do now?

If you have made an application for registration / renewal of registration, you should declare this information in your application to the VIT. 

If you have already submitted your application for registration / renewal of registration, you should notify VIT as soon as possible.

This information will be taken into account in assessing your application for registration / renewal of registration and whether you are suitable to be registered as a teacher. 

If you are already registered as a teacher, you should advise VIT as soon as possible. This information will be taken into account in assessing whether you remain suitable to be registered as a teacher.

Can I obtain a copy of my NCCHC?

The VIT is unable to provide teachers with an NCCHC certificate for external purposes. This is because the VIT does not receive a copy of the certificate from the national police checking agency, rather it receives a data file that is compatible with VIT's teacher registration system.

Those seeking a current NCCHC for non-registration related matters will be required to apply for a separate NCCHC.