New legislation has passed Victoria’s Parliament today, introducing a Reportable Conduct Scheme to better protect children from harm.
The scheme requires certain organisations providing services to children to report centrally on any abuse allegations, ensuring individuals who pose a risk to children can be excluded from working with children, even if they don’t have a criminal record.
The Commission for Children and Young People will oversee the scheme and monitor how organisations are responding to allegations of child abuse and misconduct.
The Commission will then report back to the Government and share information with the Working with Children Check Unit to improve child safety.
There will be a phased implementation of the scheme with schools and government services needing to comply from 1 July 2017, other institutions providing services to children, including religious organisations, by January 2018 and public institutions children visit by 1 January 2019.
The Reportable Conduct Scheme is designed to work in conjunction with the Child Safe Standards and other existing child safety measures to help organisations reduce the risks of and respond to allegations of child abuse or child-related misconduct.
The scheme will maintain the primacy of an investigation by Victoria Police of any allegations of criminal misconduct and will require allegations of suspected criminal conduct to be reported to Victoria Police as a priority.
The introduction of a Reportable Conduct Scheme is in response to the findings of the bipartisan Betrayal of Trust inquiry. The government has already responded to the majority of the report’s recommendations.
For more information go to: ccyp.vic.gov.au/reportableconduct/index.htm
Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos
“Children are some of the most vulnerable members of our community and the Andrews Labor Government is doing what it can to protect them. Child safety is everyone’s responsibility.”
“This scheme is the next vital step in keeping Victorian children safe and improving organisations’ responses to allegations of child abuse and misconduct.”
Quotes attributable to Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People Liana Buchanan
“History tells us we need strong, comprehensive systems in place to make sure allegations of child abuse in organisations are taken seriously, properly investigated and acted on.”
“Organisations working closely with children have a responsibility to make children’s safety a priority. The reportable conduct scheme will help organisations to understand and acquit that responsibility.”