Out of Home Care and the Victorian Reportable Conduct Scheme
- Created on Thursday, 01 February 2018 04:46
ASU organisers are often called to represent Residential Service members who are confronted with a Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) Quality of Care investigation. QoC investigations are often complex, members are often stood down whilst the investigation proceeds, and can take a protracted period of time to come to a conclusion.
Community Service Organisations (CSO’s) will often give DHHS total control over the investigation process, regardless of their own disciplinary procedures. Members are often left unsupported by their employer with no liaison or progress updates until the final outcome.
In 2012, the Victorian Government conducted an inquiry into the handling of child abuse by religious and other non government organisations (the Betrayal of Trust Inquiry).
A key recommendation was that an independent statutory body oversee and monitor how organisations handle allegations of child abuse. The scheme is established by the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 (the Act). The Commission for Children and Young People is responsible for administering the scheme.
As of 1st January 2018 organisations classified as Schedule 4 are required to comply with the new changes. These are some organisations who employ members covered by the ASU;
- Religious bodies
- An organisation that:
- operates a residential facility for a boarding school
- provides overnight camps for children as part of its primary activity (except certain youth organisations)
- is a public or denominational hospital or operates a private hospital
- is a public health service1
- An organisation that provides disability services, including but not limited to, registered disability service providers
The Reportable Conduct Scheme imposes new obligations on heads of organisations that are within the scheme. This includes requirements to:
- have in place systems to prevent child abuse and, if child abuse is alleged, to ensure allegations can be brought to the attention of appropriate persons for investigation and response
- ensure that the Commission is notified and given updates on the organisation’s response to an allegation.
The Reportable Conduct Scheme does not replace the need to report allegations of child abuse Including criminal conduct and family violence to Victoria Police.
The ASU will be monitoring the new scheme and will continue to represent members if they are involved in a Reportable Conduct Allegation and assist by guiding them through the new process.