Why criminal history checks are mandatory for some employment roles in Australia

When they start looking for a new job, many Australians are surprised to hear that they will need to submit to a background check. Anybody understands they need to present their degrees, their employment history, if any, or talk about their skills, but a criminal history check? Why would you need that if you want to work in a care home or be a soccer coach?

Why do some jobs require a criminal history check?

If you’re considering any type of job that requires working with vulnerable people you will have to submit to a criminal history check. Even volunteering for such a position is not allowed without a proper background check.

Every Australian state and territory has its own regulations with this respect, but the reason is the same. Vulnerable people must be protected against any possible form of abuse.

Children are the most vulnerable, and anybody working with or around them will have to get a Working With Children permit, sometimes called a Blue Card. The background check needed to obtain such a permit is more comprehensive than your basic criminal history check and it will also include spent convictions or pending charges.

The same rules apply for those working with the elderly or people with disabilities, which are all equally vulnerable.

Likewise, people looking for employment in the healthcare system. While not as vulnerable as children or senior citizens, those needing medical treatment are often in a fragile state of mind or physically incapacitated, which again leaves them vulnerable.

Another reason healthcare workers need to submit to a background check is that in a hospital setting they have easy access to controlled substances, which might prove too much of a temptation for people with a drug problem or simply looking to make some money on the side.

Should I get a background check before applying for such a job?

That depends on the exact nature of the job you’re applying for. If the position has anything to do with children, you will need a special permit. Each Australian state has its own screening unit and they are the only ones allowed to issue a Blue permit.

For other domains where criminal history checks are mandatory you can order a background check on yourself. A convenient way to do that is to use the services of an online character check agency. These agencies are accredited with the Criminal Commission and their checks are valid.

An online screening body will run your name through the police databases in all Australian states and territories. Any offence committed anywhere in the country will be disclosed in their report.

If you’re preparing to apply for such a job, getting your police check ahead of time will save you some time. Typically, an online agency sends the result back in a few days, and you can submit it the moment you send in your CV. Criminal record checks in Australia are compulsory for a number of regulated services. These “Regulated Services” include and are not limited to healthcare, taxi services, schools, childcare, care of the aged and vulnerable and so on. In each of those aforementioned roles, the worker has “unsupervised access” to the aged or the vulnerable members in the community.

Even if you’ve never had any conviction, you’ll still have to submit to the background check, and doing it online tends to be less bothersome and an affordable option.