Navigating Background Checks

Modified on Fri, 24 May at 3:03 PM


Navigating what background checks are required to maintain the safety of your volunteers and the community can be a difficult task.


Complying with local legislation and regulations is essential for your program if your volunteers engage with children and/or vulnerable people as part of their role. Knowing what checks are required for your volunteers is also important in creating comprehensive risk assessments and policies in relation to protecting children and/or vulnerable people and arranging suitable training and supervision for your volunteer.


Common Terms

WWVP: Working with Vulnerable People


WWCC: Working with Children Check


Vulnerable Person: According to Access Canberra’s definition, ‘Vulnerable person’ or ‘vulnerable people’ refers to an adult who is disadvantaged and is accessing a regulated activity in relation to the disadvantage.


Disadvantage in this context includes:

  • A physical or mental disability.
  • Social or financial hardship.
  • An inability to communicate.
  • Difficulty communicating in English.

Jurisdictional differences

Each state and territory in Australia use a different system for regulating background checks.


South Australia (SA), New South Wales (NSW), Queensland (QLD) and the Northern Territory (NT) use the Working with Children Check (WWCC) The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Tasmania (TAS) use the Working with Vulnerable People Checks (WWVP).


Working with Vulnerable People Checks refer to both children and disadvantaged adults, whereas the Working with Children Check relates only to child-related work. It has a narrower application than the WWVP. In relation to NDIS activities, an additional NDIS Worker Check may be required for certain volunteers conducting relevant activity in SA, NSW, QLD or NT.


When is a WWVP, WWCC needed?

Not all volunteers are required to be registered for a WWVP or WWCC. These background checks are only required if the volunteer is working with children. (in SA, NSW, QLD or NT) or with vulnerable people in a regulated activity (in ACT or TAS). Your local Volunteering Peak Body can support you to navigate this process, and more detailed information can be found on state and territory governing body websites:

JurisdictionWho Conducts the Check?
Blue Card Services
NSWNSW Office of the Children's Guardian
VictoriaDepartment of Justice and Community Safety
Consumer, Building and Occupational Services
Australian Capital TerritoryAccess Canberra
South AustraliaDepartment of Human Services (DHS)
Northern TerritoryNT Police Safe
Western AustraliaDepartment of Communities


This resource has been developed under the National Volunteer Management Activity project. 

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