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This article was written by Michelle Makela - Legal Practice Director

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

Working With Children Check - WWCC (NSW)


In New South Wales, child-related employment requires a Working with Children Check (WWCC). Some charges or convictions may disqualify you from working with children without a tribunal order. Serious convictions may automatically disqualify you.

Even volunteer activities, such as coaching a child’s sporting team, require a WWCC in NSW. Applications for this check are located on the NSW Government website. Before you can be employed to work with children, most employers will require you to pass a WWCC from the Office of the Children’s Guardian. This check will consider:

  • any charges or police investigations involving you;
  • any convictions (including cases where no conviction was recorded or you were acquitted on appeal); and
  • any other legal proceedings or government information which relates to your behaviour around children or young people.

Unsuccessful WWCC Applications and Appeals

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) can review WCCC decisions made by the Office of the Children’s Guardian. Applications for a review must be lodged with NCAT within 28 days of receiving notification from the Office of the Children’s Guardian. We can prepare and present a review application for you.

A WWCC does not need to establish facts beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, it is a risk assessment where the priority is the safety of children. This means that even if you successfully defend a matter, you are not guaranteed to pass a WWCC. You may need to have legal representation to advocate on your behalf through the assessment process.

If there are concerns during the risk assessment process that there is a likely risk to the safety of children, the Office of the Children’s Guardian will issue an interim bar until it has completed a risk assessment.

If you receive a notice saying that you have received an interim bar you must immediately stop working in child-related employment. The employer will also be notified that you have received an interim bar. Interim bars can be appealed at NCAT after six months.

You cannot appeal a bar when:

  • there are ongoing proceedings relating to a disqualifying offence (you must wait until these proceedings have been concluded);
  • you were convicted of a disqualifying offence and were sentenced to full-time imprisonment or remain subject to certain types of orders.

When considering whether or not to seek a Working With Children Check clearance, it is important to have an understanding of your chances of success before you start. This is because a refusal from the Office of the Children’s Guardian also generally results in a five-year disqualification period on seeking another clearance.

We can provide you with guidance on your chances of success and the types of expert and supporting evidence that will be relevant in proving your suitability for a Working With Children Check clearance.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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