This factsheet will introduce you to the reportable conduct scheme in Victoria.
This is a scheme which obliges certain VIC-based employers who provide services to children, to report allegations made against their employees of child-related misconduct to the Victorian Commission for Children and Young People.
Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 (Vic)
Is my organisation covered by the scheme?
The majority of organisations who provide services to children are covered by the scheme (including primary, secondary schools, and overnight camps for children, residential facilities of boarding schools and after hours care services) are covered.
Who do I report to?
The Commission for Children and Young People (‘the Commission’) – http://www.ombudsman.act.gov.au/
What is reportable conduct?
Under the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 (Vic) ‘reportable conduct’ is defined 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 commenced or concluded;
- Sexual misconduct (including behaviour, physical contact or speech or other communication of a sexual nature, inappropriate touching, grooming behaviour and voyeurism), committed against, with or in the presence of a child;
- Physical violence committed against, with or in the presence of, a child;
- Any behaviour that causes significant emotional or psychological harm to a child; and
- Significant neglect of a child (noting that ‘significant’ means that the harm or neglect is more than trivial or insignificant, but need not be as high as serious and need not have a lasting permanent effect).
Whose conduct is reportable?
For Education providers reportable conduct is conduct of individuals of or over the age of 18 years who are:
- Employed by the entity, whether or not the person’s employment is relates to children (i.e. including a cleaner in a school), and
- Engaged by the entity to provide services (this includes volunteers, contractors, etc).
What level of knowledge does an organisation need to have to have of the reportable conduct?
Any information that leads a person to form a reasonable belief that an employee has committed reportable conduct or misconduct that may involve reportable conduct. It is irrelevant whether or not the conduct or misconduct is alleged to have occurred within the course of the person’s employment.
What do we have to notify the Commission of and when do we have to do it?
The head of the entity must notify the Commission in writing within 3 business days after becoming aware of that a reportable allegation has been made against an employee of the entity.
The following must be reported:
- The name (including any former name and alias, if known) and date of birth, if known, of the employee
- Whether Victoria Police has been contacted about the reportable allegation
- The name, address and telephone number of the entity, and
- The name of the head of the entity
As soon as practicable and within 30 days after becoming aware of the reportable allegation the head of the entity must notify the Commission of:
- Detailed information about any reportable allegation or any reportable conduct involving an employee of the entity;
- Whether or not the entity proposes to take any action against the employee based on the allegation or conviction, and the entity’s reasons for taking or not taking action, and
- Any written submissions made by the employee to the head of the entity about the allegation or conviction that the employee asked the entity to take into account when deciding any action against the employee.
Do I have to investigate and if so when?
After you become aware of a reportable allegation you must investigate the reportable allegation or permit a regulator, or an independent investigator engaged by the organisation/regulator to investigate the reportable allegation.