Working With Children Checks
Recent changes to Child Protection laws and Life Saving Victoria (LSV) Policies now require all Portsea SLSC Members aged 18 years and over to have a valid Working With Children Check (WWCC). This means that all adult, parent and guardian members attending and/or interacting with children in any club activity are required to hold a current WWCC. This includes age managers or parent helpers for Nippers, instructors and examiners on Cadet camp, Bronze camp and Silver camp, requalification and training events, volunteers for all club events such as the Pier to Perignon and Portsea Swim Classic, as well as all ACTIVE patrolling members. The policy extends to all categories of membership, including Life and Associate, where those members participate as outlined above.
Under the updated LSV Policy, there are no exceptions to the WWCC requirement.
Note that persons exempted under the Act – Police Officers and VIT registered teachers – must also have a WWWC to participate in Portsea SLSC activities, despite their exemption. This requirement is due to the reporting process under the Act. Without undertaking a WWCC referenced to LSV and the Club, there is no link between your profession as a teacher or Department of Justice employee, and any volunteer organisation in which you participate. Hence, was any member in their substantive capacity as a teacher or Police Officer, to be charged with a breach of any laws relevant to the WWCC (e.g. sexual misconduct), neither LSV nor the Club would be informed of such charges. This policy therefore ensures a higher level of risk minimisation for our junior members.
WHY THE NEW POLICY?
As a volunteer organisation, Portsea SLSC has an obligation to protect our young members from physical and sexual harm. This includes the responsibility to:
- Ensure that no employee or volunteer with a Negative Notice (i.e. to have been found unsuitable to work with children as a result of the WWCC) and/or Interim Negative Notices (as defined under the Act), undertakes child related work; and
- Ensure that employees and volunteers have the appropriate WWCC according to the work undertaken.
- The legal requirement stipulates that all members aged over 18 years who undertake child related work in a voluntary or salaried position in any capacity are required to have a current WWCC registered to Life Saving Victoria and Portsea SLSC.
The Department of Justice WWCC website defines child related work as “contact with a child that is ‘direct’ and part of the person’s duties. Direct contact includes oral, written or electronic communications as well as face to face” (www.workingwithchildren.vic.gov.au)
Given the nature of surf life saving activities and the high level of participation by children, it is incumbent upon us as an organisation to have in place policies and processes to safeguard our younger members. Given the inherent difficulties in policing who holds a current WWCC and who does not, a blanket requirement is the only feasible means for the Club to comply with its legal obligations. For example, if a parent is called upon at Nippers to help out in an activity, even where that help might be as basic as standing in waist deep water as a “turning buoy”, that creates “direct contact” with children and hence requires a WWCC. The Club is eager for all parents to be actively involved in their children’s activities and holding a valid WWCC enables that parental participation.
Therefore, all Portsea SLSC members aged 18 years and over who are involved in any aspect of patrolling, Nipper, Cadet, Bronze & Silver programs (qualified or unqualified), all training, leadership camps (lifesaving and competition) and all Club events such as the Portsea Swim Classic and Pier to Perignon, MUST hold a valid WWCC.
WHAT DOES A WORKING WITH CHILDREN CHECK INVOLVE?
A WWCC considers offences of a sexual, violent and drug related nature and any offences that present an unjustifiable risk to the safety of children. The check includes a National criminal record check for relevant convictions, findings of guilt and relevant pending charges, as well as a review of relevant findings from prescribed professional disciplinary bodies.
There are serious legal ramifications for LSV and Portsea SLSC if the Act is breached. Fines of up to $125,000 can be imposed on LSV and up to $25,000 or 2 years in prison can be imposed on individuals.
The Portsea SLSC Committee is committed to the safety and wellbeing of ALL members and fully endorses the new legislation and the policies of LSV. The new laws and policies took effect from 1st August 2017 and as a result WWCC requirements will be enforced throughout the Club this summer. Any member who is required to complete a WWCC and chooses not to will be referred to the Committee for consideration.
ALREADY HAVE A WWCC?
If you already have a WWCC through your work with another organisation, you will need to update your WWCC to reference LSV and Portsea SLSC (as per the details below). Please go to the following link and update Sections D & E to reflect the details set out below. The main occupational field will be “42 (Clubs and Associations)”, along with the name and address for LSV and the Club.
NEED TO APPLY FOR A WWCC?
For those without a WWCC, you can submit your application via the Department of Justice’s easy to use online portal at: http://www.workingwithchildren.vic.gov.au/
WWCC’s are free for volunteers. Please note however, a volunteer WWCC cannot be used for employment purposes.
COMPLETING THE WWCC FORM
Section D: Details of Child-Related Work
- 1st Code: 42 (Clubs and Associations) – ALL MEMBERS
- 2nd Code: 10 (Overnight Camps) – As Required
- 3rd Code: 28 (Coaching and Tuition) – As Required
Section E: Details of Organisation/s
Organisation 1 (Primary):
Life Saving Victoria
200 The Boulevard
Port Melbourne VIC 3207
Portsea Surf Life Saving Club Inc
PO Box 473
Warrandyte VIC 3113
Once you have completed and submitted the application form online, you will be emailed a bar code. If you can access your email on your smartphone, simply go to an Australia Post outlet and show them the bar code. If you can’t get your email on your phone, simply print out a copy of the bar code to take with you. They will scan the bar code and take your photo to complete your submission. Once your WWCC is submitted and approved, you will receive a card in the mail and the Club will receive an automatic notification of your WWCC number, which will then be recorded in your membership file. It really is a VERY SIMPLE PROCESS!
PLEASE NOTE: If you have any concerns regarding the new WWCC requirements or your eligibility, please contact our Club Member Protection Officer (MPO), Sam Paynter, on 0413 531 888. All discussions will be strictly confidential.
If you’d like further information on WWCC legislation or LSV policies, please click on the links below:
For full details on WWCC visit www.workingwithchildren.vic.gov.au
To read the updated LSV Working With Children Check (WWCC) Policy visit http://lsv.com.au/wp-content/uploads/Working-with-Children-Check-Policy-HRM-PO-0102.pdf
To read the updated LSV Working With Children Check FAQ’s visit http://lsv.com.au/wp-content/uploads/Working-with-Children-Check-FAQ-V3-0.pdf