Victoria Legal Aid

Appealing a Working with Children exclusion

If you fail the Working with Children check, the Department of Health and Human Services will issue you with a 'negative notice'. Find out information about applying for a review with VCAT, time limits and fees.

If you fail the Working with Children check (WWC check), the Department of Justice and Community Safety (the department) will issue you with a 'WWC exclusion’. This means that you will be prevented from doing any child-related work for a period of five years, unless your circumstances change. Before February 2021, a WWC exclusion was called a ‘negative notice'.

If you receive a WWC exclusion, you may be able to apply for a review of the department’s decision at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal (VCAT)External Link .

Applying for a review at VCAT

VCAT has the power to review certain decisions made by the department.

If the department has refused to give you a WWC clearance, or revokes a current WWC clearance, you can apply to VCAT for a review. The only exception to this right of review is if you have been charged with, convicted or found guilty of a ‘category A offence’ under the Worker Screening Act 2020 (Vic) (which includes murder, rape and serious sexual offences against children). If you are in this category, you cannot apply to VCAT for a review of the department’s decision to issue a WWC exclusion.

In an application to review the department’s decision to issue a WWC exclusion, VCAT can:

  • affirm the decision (this happens when VCAT finds that the department made the correct decision)
  • set aside the decision and direct the department to give you a WWC clearance, or
  • send the matter back to the department for reconsideration (this means the department will make another decision about whether to give you a WWC clearance).

VCAT must not make an order for the issuing of a WWC clearance unless it is satisfied that giving the notice would not pose an ‘unjustifiable risk to the safety of children’, having regard to a number of factors.

Read more about the Worker Screening Act 2020 (review and original jurisdiction orders)External Link .

You can apply for a review onlineExternal Link . These applications are heard in the Review and Regulation ListExternal Link .

Time limits for reviews

Applications for review must be made within 28 days from the date of the decision of the department.

If you have requested a statement of reasons under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic), you either have 28 days from the date the statement of reasons is given to you, or from when you are told that a statement of reasons will not be given.


An application fee must be paid at the time of lodging an application for review at VCAT.

If you hold a current Health Care Card you may be eligible for the concession fee rate.

Read more about Fees at VCATExternal Link .

If you are in financial hardship you may apply for fees to be waived, reduced or postponed.

Read more about Fee reliefExternal Link .

Other support

Find out how you can get Other support for help with a Working with Children check.

Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

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Reviewed 07 April 2022

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