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Information for adults and children - information sharing laws

Organisations need approval to share a client's personal information, but if there’s a serious threat to someone's safety or wellbeing, your consent isn’t legally required.

Information sharing laws have recently changed to promote your safety and wellbeing, or the safety and wellbeing of your children. Your information will be used without approval to assess and manage your risk (or a child’s risk) to keep you safe and well. This can include information about a child, a perpetrator of family violence, the child’s parent, or any other person.

A person’s safety takes preference over someone’s privacy. The Child information sharing scheme and Family violence information sharing schemes promote the safety of children and their families. 

Information will be shared with approved professionals so they can work together to assess and manage your safety, and support you during a difficult time. Information will never be shared with the perpetrator of family violence. 

Most of the time we’ll gain your consent, however, if we need to prevent a serious threat to an individual’s life, health, safety or welfare, your consent isn’t required to share information.

When it’s possible and safe, we’ll let you know your information has been shared and we can discuss your information sharing options going forward.

Consent isn’t required from any person prior to sharing information that’s relevant to assessing or managing a risk of family violence to a child. This includes information about a child, their parent who isn’t an offender, the offender or any third party.

Client fact sheet: Your Information and your safety

Sharing relevant information can be critical to managing your safety.

Information sharing procedures will be explained to you and your consent will be sought when engaging with relevant services.

Generally, your information will not be shared without your consent. But if there is a serious threat to an individual's life, health safety or welfare, your information may be shared without your consent to lessen or prevent this serious threat.

Your information may also be shared without consent if this information is linked to a child victim survivor of family violence and it is necessary to assess or manage family violence risk to that child.

If your information is shared without your consent, it will be done so in a manner that promotes your safety and takes into account your views, where appropriate, safe and reasonable.

When appropriate, safe and reasonable you will be notified about your information being shared.

You maintain the right to access any information held about you. If you think any information held about you is incorrect, you can ask to look at your file and ask for your information to be corrected.

If you believe your privacy has been unlawfully interfered with as a result of information sharing, you may make a complaint to the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner, the Health Complaints Commissioner or the Australian Information Commissioner, as applicable.

Your information is strictly confidential and will only be shared with prescribed services that are bound by law to keep it secure.

Your information will NEVER be shared with the perpetrator of family violence under the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme established under Part 5A of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008.

Information shared with you

An organisation may share information with you about the perpetrator of family violence to assist you manage your own safety or that of your children.

You are NOT permitted to use this information provided to you for any purpose other than managing your safety.

You should not share the information you receive in ways that are unrelated to managing your safety (e.g. sharing on social media). Sharing your information with the wrong person could affect your or others safety.

Information can be shared with members of your safety management network as required, but only as it relates to implementing your relevant safety plans.

If information is provided to a third party, you must inform the third party that the information can only be used to manage your safety or that of your children.