From 1 July 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services is required under the Child Safety and Wellbeing Act 2005 to notify the Commission for Children and Young People (the CCYP) of allegations of child abuse (and other child-related misconduct) made against departmental staff.
Departmental staff includes:
- department employees (including staff at central and divisional offices)
- kinship carers.
The scheme is additional to and does not replace current departmental processes for reporting and responding to staff misconduct.
The scheme will improve oversight of how organisations prevent and respond to allegations of child abuse by providing:
- an independent scheme that aims to prevent harm to children by collating reports and information to identify individuals who pose a risk to children (including those that do not have criminal records) and enabling them to be excluded from working with children, and
- independent oversight by the CCYP of organisations' responses to allegations of child abuse and child-related misconduct against staff.
The scheme complements the Child Safe Standards and other existing child safety measures.
There are five types of ‘reportable conduct’:
- sexual offences committed against, with, or in the presence of a child
- sexual misconduct committed against, with, or in the presence of a child
- physical violence against, with, or in the presence of a child
- any behaviour that causes significant emotional or psychological harm to a child
- significant neglect of a child.
The scope of ‘reportable conduct’ is wide and includes conduct that may fall below a criminal threshold, or occurs outside service delivery or outside the course of employment
For further detailed information visit the CCYP website at https://ccyp.vic.gov.au/child-safety/resources/reportable-conduct-scheme-information-sheets/
If the alleged conduct is potentially criminal in nature, Victoria Police must also be notified as a first priority and any investigation by Victoria Police will take precedence.
Once a staff member has become aware of an allegation of reportable conduct or misconduct that may involve reportable conduct, they are required to notify their line manager as soon as possible.
Staff are not required to make a report directly to the CCYP.
When notified of an allegation, management will provide the information to Workplace Relations (in accordance with the existing employee misconduct process).
Workplace Relations will refer the matter to the department’s Ethical Standards Unit, which will then report the allegation to the CCYP, if appropriate, and will take any necessary actions.
The reportable conduct scheme will operate in conjunction with existing Quality of Care processes for kinship carers. Further guidance will be available for staff about notifying the CCYP about reportable conduct involving kinship carers.
Further information on the scheme is located on the department’s intranet site at https://intranet.dhhs.vic.gov.au/reportable-conduct-scheme and on the CCYP’s website at https://ccyp.vic.gov.au/reportable-conduct-scheme/
For information on responding to and reporting concerns about staff conduct in the course of their duties as a departmental employee visit https://intranet.dhhs.vic.gov.au/unsatisfactory-work-performance-and-misconduct-vps
For information on responding to a report about a child who is related to someone who works at the Department of Health and Human Services see procedure Reports about children related to DHHS staff and advice Reports about children related to DHHS staff
For information on the Child Safe Standards see Child Safe Standards and on the department’s internet site and on the Child Safe Standards intranet page at https://intranet.dhhs.vic.gov.au/child-safe-standards
- Reports about children related to DHHS staff - advice
- Reportable conduct scheme - DHHS intranet site
- Reportable conduct scheme - CCYP website
- Managing unsatifactory work performance and misconduct policy
- Child safe standards - Our approach
- Child safe standards - DHHS intranet site
- Child safe standards - DHHS internet site