All students are required to have a valid Australian nationally coordinated criminal history check (commonly known as a police check) if placements will be undertaken in a public, private or community health setting.
What is a nationally coordinated criminal history check?
A nationally coordinated criminal history check (police check) is a collation of police and conviction history information about an individual that has been determined releasable by Australia’s police agencies and made available by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC).
Police checks are important because they help protect the community by providing police and conviction information to inform decision making. Police checks are used by many organisations to minimise the risk of employing or granting an entitlement to an unsuitable person.
How do I get a police check?
The University of Melbourne has partnered with National Crime Check Pty Ltd to provide an easy to use, secure and fully online application system for Australian police checks.
Police check applications and results are managed through the Faculty's placement administration tool, Sonia, in the Checks tab.
Tip: If you apply for your police check via Sonia, we'll provide it free of charge!
Frequently asked questions
How long is my police check valid for?
Results of police checks have no set expiry date. They are point-in-time checks, meaning that the results only reflect police records on the date they are released by each police agency. Your placement host organisation is responsible for determining how long police checks are to be accepted as ‘valid’, based on their own risk management strategy and assessments.
The Victorian Standardised Student Induction Protocol requires students to have an appropriate police check issued no more than six months prior to course commencement. Sonia will treat all Australian police checks as valid for three years from the date of issue, but students can apply for a new police check earlier if needed for a specific placement.
Please note: if your police check was issued more than three years prior to the commencement of your upcoming placement, you will need to apply for a new police check in order to be compliant.
Do I have to get my police check through the University system?
No, but we strongly recommend that you do.
National Crime Check is an accredited body of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission's National Police Checking Service, which means the checks undergo the same rigorous checking process as those from any other provider and have the same validity in the community. Police checks provided through the University system are obtained via a convenient online platform, return results faster than some other providers and, best of all, are 100% free for students.
If you do decide to obtain your police check through a different provider, you can upload and submit it for processing on the Australian Police Check in Sonia. A staff member will then assess it's suitability for use on placement according to the following criteria:
- Document is clear, complete and unaltered
- The issuer is an Australian state or territory police agency or an accredited body listed on the National Police Checking Service website
- The police check has a stated purpose encompassing supervised or unsupervised access to vulnerable people
- The check was issued no more than six months prior to the commencement of your course and no more than three years prior to the start of your upcoming placement
What if my police check is under an alternative/previous name?
If your police check is under an alternative or previous name different to the one registered with the University, please upload a ‘Change of Name Certificate’ to the Alternative/Previous Name Notice available under your Checks tab on Sonia.
Our Student Support team will refer back to your Alternative/Previous Name Notice every time they come across one of your documents under a different name, so there is no need to provide a ‘Change of Name Certificate’ elsewhere on Sonia.
You may also update your Alternative/Previous Name Notice if you have any further changes to your name.
What should be the purpose of my police check?
Regardless of whether you're getting your police check done through the University system or externally, it needs to have a stated purpose encompassing supervised or unsupervised access to vulnerable people. Police checks without this information will not be accepted.
Can I get a copy of my police check?
Students who make a police check application through the University automatically receive a copy of their police check via email.
If you have lost your initial copy and require a new one, contact the Health Hub. Note that copies of past police checks are only available for three months after the result is generated.
We recommend you download and store a copy of your police check as soon as it is received.
Restriction on use of police check
Police check applications made through the University are conducted for the purpose of your study only. As the Reason for Check (stated on the police check certificate) affects what police information is released, it is against the law to use the police check for any other purpose.
I'm having technical difficulties. How do I get help?
National Crime Check provides a dedicated support service. You can contact them on 1800 080 095 or by emailing email@example.com.
My police check is wrong. What can I do?
If you do not agree with the results of your police check, you must:
- Review the police check result
- Notify National Crime Check of the incorrect information and ask them to raise a dispute on your behalf.
- Immediately inform the University by contacting the Health Hub.
While the dispute is investigated, you must not use the original police check for any reason. You should notify the University when the investigation has concluded and the outcome of the dispute.
If I've got a criminal record, does that mean I can't go on placement?
Your criminal history information disclosed on your police check will be reviewed by your assigned placement provider. They will assess your suitability for placement according to their own risk framework and policies.
The University will make every effort to source suitable placements for you, and a staff member from your department will speak with you directly about what impact there might be on your studies (if any).
How do I interpret my police check result, and how is it determined?
Police information is disclosed by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and Australian police agencies in accordance with applicable legislation and information release policies of the Australian Government and state and territory governments.
When determining what information to release, police agencies will consider the Purpose of the check. All police checks obtained through the University have a pre-defined purpose that is tailored to your course; for example, "Work Experience - Healthcare/Vulnerable Groups - Speech Pathology student".
All Australian police agencies, except Victoria, have legislation governing how information about a person's criminal convictions may be used and disclosed. These legislative schemes, known has spent convictions schemes, impose rules on when convictions may become spent, and places limits on what may be done with the information relating to such convictions. Each scheme also imposes a general prohibition on persons disclosing information that has become spent.
There are some circumstances in which these protections do not apply, for example when a person will be working with children or other vulnerable groups.
These links may help you source information on spent convictions:
- Australian Government
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
How to interpret the result
The results provided on your police check will outline whether you have No Disclosable Court Outcomes (NDCO) or Disclosable Court Outcomes (DCO).
NDCO means there is:
- no police information held against you; or
- no police information that can be released according to the purpose and category of the police check.
DCO means there is police information that can be released.
A police check result with a DCO may list the following police information:
- court convictions, including penalties and sentences
- findings of guilt with no conviction
- court appearances
- good behaviour bonds or other court orders
- matters awaiting court hearing
- warrants and/or warnings
- traffic offences.