There are numerous reasons individuals may be required to obtain a Police Check in Australia.
The most common purpose is for pre-employment screening so that employers can more objectively assess the risk posed by individuals and ensure safe environments for what are considered "vulnerable" or "special needs" populations (such as children, the aged and those with disabilities).
Working With Children Checks and Police Checks are different types of pre-employment screening programs which ensure child-safe working environments in Australia.
Pre-employment screening of adults and Volunteers who come in contact with children is mandatory and legislated for across most states and territories in Australia. However there is no national framework setting out the requirements for obtaining a Working With Children Check (or Police Checks) - and each state and territory has their own procedures and requirements.
It is common for Volunteers to be required to go through screening processes such as a background check in order to assess their suitability for different roles. This is particularly the case where Volunteers work with "vulnerable" populations such as the elderly, children, or those with disabilities. It may also be required where Volunteers are responsible for financial or driving duties.
University students completing health-related courses requiring clinical placement in Australia are required by law to obtain a Police Check.
A number of industries, professions and trades require prospective employees to undergo a Police Check in order to satisfy registration or licensing requirements.