What is the Victorian Reportable Conduct Scheme?
On the 23rd of February 2017, the Children Legislations Amendment (Reportable Conduct) Act 2017 passed Victoria’s Parliament. This Act made significant amendments to the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005, including the establishment of a reportable conduct scheme in Victoria.
From the 1st of July 2017, the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) will administer a ‘reportable conduct scheme’ in Victoria. The scheme is designed to improve oversight of how organisations respond to allegations of child abuse and child-related misconduct by workers and volunteers.
What is ‘reportable conduct’?
The Children Legislation Amendment (Reportable Conduct) Act 2017 defines reportable conduct as:
- a sexual offence committed against, with or in the presence of, a child, whether or not a criminal proceeding in relation to the offence has been commenced or concluded; or
- sexual misconduct, committed against, with or in the presence of, a child; or
- physical violence committed against, with or in the presence of, a child; or
- any behaviour that causes significant emotional or psychological harm to a child; or
- significant neglect of a child.
Any allegations of criminal conduct must be reported to Victoria Police as the first priority.
Which organisations will the scheme apply to and when?
The scheme is being introduced in three phases from 1 July 2017.
Phase 1 – From 1 July 2017 the scheme will apply to:
- Government and non-government primary and secondary schools;
- Organisations registered or accredited to provide senior secondary education and training;
- Registered overseas student exchange organisations;
- Registered schools and senior secondary providers that provide approved education and training courses to students from overseas;
- Disability service providers that provide residential services for children with a disability;
- Mental health service providers that provide in-patient beds for children and young people;
- Drug or alcohol treatment services that provide in-patient beds for children and young people;
- Housing or homelessness services that provide overnight beds for children and young people, such as youth refuges;
- Child protection services;
- Out-of-home care services; and
- Government departments providing services to children (including youth justice and corrective services).
Phase 2 – From 1 January 2018 the scheme will apply to:
- Religious organisations;
- Residential facilities of boarding schools;
- Overnight camps for children;
- Public, denominational and private hospitals; and
- Other disability service providers that provide services for children, including those registered with the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Phase 3 – From 1 January 2019 the scheme will apply to:
- Approved education and care services (e.g. kindergartens, after hours care services);
- Children’s services (e.g. occasional care providers); and
- Statutory bodies that have responsibility for children, such as public museums and galleries.
What do organisations need to do from 1 July 2017?
The reportable conduct scheme will require organisations with a high level of responsibility for children to:
- Ensure that the person in a relevant position of authority (such as the Chief Executive Officer) in the organisation is made aware of and reports any allegation of reportable conduct made against a worker or volunteer to the Commission for Children and Young People. In all circumstances, allegations of criminal conduct must be reported to Victoria Police as the first priority.
- Ensure an appropriate independent investigation of the allegation is undertaken.
Report any findings and the reasons for the outcome of an investigation to the Commission for Children and Young People at the conclusion of the investigation.
Who can investigate reportable conduct?
The Children Legislation Amendment (Reportable Conduct) Act 2017 specifies that an independent investigation of a reportable conduct allegation must be undertaken. ‘Independent investigator’ is defined under Part 5 of the Act as an ”independent body or person with appropriate qualifications, training or experience to investigate reportable allegations”.
Safeguarding Services is an “independent body” with appropriately qualified, trained and experienced investigators to investigate reportable conduct allegations.Print this page