Criminal History Clearance

Compulsory Requirement

All students who, as part of their program, undertake activities where interaction with patients/the public is required, such as in field or clinical placements/visits and in University clinics and gyms, must demonstrate that they have an Australian criminal history clearance which will be current for the duration of that activity.

A criminal history clearance is an assessment of an individual's criminal history and is part of the legislated (Child Protection Act and Aged Care Act) risk management requirement of organisations where children or vulnerable adults may be present. Students must ensure the criminal history clearance will be valid for the duration of their placement.

All students are required to have a:

  • National Police Certificate (NPC) through SAPOL (South Australian Police) or their home state police service


  • Working With Children Check through the Department of Human Services (DHS) Screening Unit.


  • Disability Services Employment Check through the Department of Human Services (DHS) Screening Unit.

While the university's requirement is for a clearance once every three years, some placement venues may require a screening to have been conducted more recently. Details regarding the required currency of a criminal history clearance for a specific placement venue will be communicated via InPlace and/or email from the Clinical Placement Unit. You can also clarify these requirements by contacting the Clinical Placement Unit.

In July 2018 the Department of Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI) changed their name to the Department of Human Services (DHS). As a result of this, documentation from the DHS may contain references to the Department of Communities and Social Inclusion and Department of Human Services.

Applying to the Department of Human Services (DHS) for a National Criminal History Record Check and Screening Assessment

All students undertaking a placement in South Australia are required to hold a current Department of Human Services (DHS) screening check for:

  • Working With Children Check (valid for 5 years)


  • Disability Employment Screening (valid for 3 years)

DHS Screening Online is an organisation-led process. All online screening applications MUST be initiated by an organisation. As a student you will be unable to start a DHS screening on your own - UniSA will act as the Requesting Organisation for the purposes of submitting a screening application for a student in relation to their placement. 

The DHS online student form (below) has been created for students enrolled into a UniSA program or course. Please do not complete this student form if you are not completing a program and/or course at the University of South Australia.

Follow the steps outlined below to apply for an online DHS screening:

Step 1. Start your DHS application by completing this online Student Form

Step 2. Once the university has initiated an application, you will receive an email from the DHS Screening Unit providing login instructions and requesting you to activate your account. Note that this email could take up to 2 weeks and will be sent to the email account that you provide. If you do not receive an activation email after 2 weeks, please contact the Clinical Placement Unit.

Step 3. Activate your account and complete an online application for:

  • Working With Children Check


  • Disability Employment Screening

You will need your login and password details to be able to complete your application using the online portal.

Note: you will get one application number as a reference number for both screening checks.

Step 4. When choosing a verification method students should select only Option 1 (online) or Option 3 (print and seek). More information can be found here: How to verify your Identity

If you are using the print and seek verification option, proceed to the payment section of your online application by selecting PAYMENT OPTION and clicking the 'Pay Fees' button. You can then proceed to print your partially completed application form and take it, together with ORIGINAL copies of your identity documents, to an independent verifying officer.

Please post your completed application to: DHS Screening Unit, GPO Box 292, Adelaide SA 5001.

Step 5. When you receive your DHS clearance outcomes, it is your responsibility to provide the clearances to CPU. For details about how to submit/upload conditional evidence documents to the CPU, please refer to your student checklist.

As a tertiary student on placements you pay a single fee no matter how many checks are needed, as long as the applications are submitted at the same time.

Information on how to pay please utilise the following link: payment information on DHS website

Applying for the National Police Certificate (NPC)

All students will be required to have a National Police Certificate (NPC) through SAPOL (or their home state police service).

Please note that if you have had a certificate issued previously which contains the Category of ‘Child/Vulnerable’ and Purpose of ‘Health/Aged Care Uni Placement’, your certificate will still be accepted by the Clinical Placement Unit.

Follow the steps outlined below to apply for a National Police Certificate (NPC):

Step 1. Access your home state police service from the state list provided below
            SA | VIC | NSW | QLD | NT | WA | ACT | TAS

  • CPU and placement sites do not accept NPC obtained through online 3rd party providers.
  • For Non-SA students – see Step 2. below as a guide to the correct descriptions required for your NPC application. Please ensure the correct description of ‘purpose of check’ 

Step 2. When completing your application for a South Australian (SAPOL) National Police Certificate, you must include the following descriptor under the heading:


Position Title, Occupation or Position Being Sought


Proposed Place of Work (Name of Organisation or Type or Workplace)


Location of Employment (Town and State/Territory, or Country if not Australia)



TickYes, I will have supervised contact with vulnerable peoples


Tick – Employment


Full Time Students select "Individual Concession (IC)",

Part Time Students select "Individual (I)"

Step 3. Submit your application at a local state police station.

Step 4. Once you receive your National Police Certificate in the mail, it is your responsibility to provide this to the CPU via the InPlace portal. Please refer to your student checklist for details about how to submit/upload conditional evidence documents.

Step 5. Submit a completed  Consent & Authority to Release Form to InPlace. You will need to reference the details contained on the National Police Certificate in order to complete this document.

Students undertaking placement in a state other than SA. Please allow a minimum of 10-15 working days from the date that you apply for your NPC. The process may be further delayed if information is required from interstate jurisdictions pertaining to the national name search.

International Students - International Police Clearance equivalent to a National Police Certificate

An international criminal history check is required in circumstances where a student declares that they have resided in a country other than Australia, for a period exceeding 12 months when aged 18 years of age or more, or if a student has declared a criminal history in a jurisdiction outside of Australia.

International criminal history checks are to be conducted by external provider ‘Fit2Work’. 'Fit2Work' is the only 3rd party provider approved to conduct this clearance.  

Turnaround times do vary. Checks are typically returned within 15 business days; however, some results will take longer depending on the processing times of Government Agencies coordinating checks in each country searched. This can be up to 2 months in some cases.

If you fit the category outlined above, please access the fit2work website to read more about and initiate your application. If you have any queries regarding this process, please contact fit2Work's helpdesk on 1300 575 575 or email:

The International Police Clearance certificate is valid for 12 months; following this, students are required to obtain a State Issued National Police Certificate (NPC).

Aged Care Requirements

Additional requirements of aged care organisations as a result of Department of Health and Ageing compliance standards

People who have lived in a country other than Australia for any period of time after the age of 16 must provide a statutory declaration stating they were not convicted of murder or sexual assault, and not convicted of and imprisoned for any other form of assault during their time living overseas. Any such criminal record would exclude the person from working with, or being placed within, an aged care service if they have unsupervised access to care recipients. In addition to the statutory declaration, which a Justice of the Peace can assist with, the person must also have a criminal history clearance to cover the time (after age 16) that they have lived in Australia.

Additional Information

Types of Criminal History Clearance

Criminal history clearances are conducted in a variety of ways and are titled differently depending on which organisation conducts them. Placement organisations may have specific requirements around which type of clearance they require. Information about any special requirements is in the Student Placement System.

For placement in South Australia, the University will accept only the National Criminal History Record Check (NCHRC) conducted by the Department of Human Services (DHS), (previously known as the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion).

All students will be required to have a National Police Certificate (NPC) through SAPOL (or their home state police service) and a Child Related Employment Screening through the Department of Human Services (DHS) Screening Unit.

Interstate placements

Students who will be attending placement interstate will require the National Police Certificate (NPC).

How long is a National Police Certificate valid for in Victoria?

Victoria Police does not have an expiry date for validity of National Police Certificates. The police certificate is the result of a check of police records only up until the day it is issued. It is up to each organisation (in the absence of any legislation applicable to their industry/profession) to determine how often they require a new certificate to be issued. Some areas do have either direct legislation or licensing requirements which require a police check be conducted at certain intervals. The best source of information in regard to this is the professional or industry governing body which relates to the area. To apply for a National Police Clearance in Victoria, see the Victoria Police website.

Students from other disciplines within UniSA or other universities

Students from other universities who enrol in UniSA courses where a clinical or field placement is a requirement are required to comply with the criminal history clearance requirements outlined on this website.

Children's Protection Act (SA) 1993

In response to concerns of those in positions of trust, abusing or misusing their trust, to sexually, emotionally, and physically abuse and neglect children (that is, people under the age of 18) and vulnerable adults, the Children's Protection Act (SA) has been revised and strengthened.

This legislation requires all health care venues and all education venues to address this by policies that include police checks for students prior to their being accepted by the placement venue for field/clinical placement.