Reportable Conduct Scheme has new reporting requirement for heads of religious bodies

On 1 July 2017 Victoria introduced a Reportable Conduct Scheme to oversee organisational responses to allegations of child abuse or misconduct towards children.

It is now mandatory for organisations that come under the scheme to notify the Commission for Children and Young People of a reportable allegation of child abuse (or other child-related misconduct), made against their workers or volunteers.

How do you know if it applies to your organisation?

The scheme is being introduced in three phases over 18 months. The first phase from 1 July created new obligations for organisations that operate schools and provide government services.

While religious organisations broadly come into the scheme on 1 January 2018 (phase 2), some may have come in on 1 July 2017 if they operate a school or provide government services. A religious body providing services or activities in more than one phase of the scheme is within the scheme as a whole from the earliest phase relevant to the organisation.

This means that once part of your organisation is within the scheme, all of your organisation is within the scheme - and the head of that organisation must notify the Commission and investigate reportable allegations across the whole organisation.

The Commission can provide you further advice on when you come in.

What is reportable conduct?

The Reportable Conduct Scheme covers allegations about worker, or volunteer, behaviour or actions towards a child. There are five types of reportable conduct the come under the scheme:

  • sexual offences
  • sexual misconduct
  • physical violence
  • behaviour that is likely to cause significant emotional or psychological harm, and
  • significant neglect.

A child is anyone who is under 18 years of age.

What do you have to do?

A major responsibility goes to the heads of organisations within scope of the Reportable Conduct Scheme. The head must ensure that an allegation of reportable conduct made against their worker or volunteer is reported to the Commission - and must also ensure that allegation is investigated.

Religious bodies will need to determine who is the head of their organisation for the purposes of the scheme.

In summary, from 1 July 2017 organisations within the scope of the scheme must:

  • have in place systems to prevent child abuse
  • if child abuse is alleged, ensure allegations can be brought to the attention of the head of the organisation for reporting and investigation, and
  • ensure that the Commission for Children and Young People is notified of an allegation and given updates on the organisation’s response to an allegation.

More information

The Commission for Children and Young People's role in the scheme is to support organisations, and to oversee and monitor how organisations respond to allegations.

The Reportable Conduct Scheme does not replace existing obligations to report allegations of child abuse to Victoria Police and child protection.

The scheme is a response to the Betrayal of Trust report and aims to prevent people who pose a risk to children continuing in child-related work.

Contact the Commission

Further information is available on the Commission’s website at www.ccyp.vic.gov.au.

 

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