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Improving institutional responding and reporting

The government has enacted historic reforms to ensure child sexual abuse is reported to the relevant authorities by institutions, their staff and volunteers. The Victorian Government has expanded the categories of mandatory reporter groups who are required to report to Child Protection authorities, and the organisations that are subject to Victoria’s Reportable Conduct Scheme.

Reporting child abuse

In 2019, in line with the Royal Commission’s recommendations, Victoria expanded its categories of mandatory reporter groups who are required to report a reasonable belief of physical or sexual abuse to include out-of-home care workers (excluding foster and kinship carers), early childhood workers, youth justice workers, and registered psychologists. On 1 January 2020, school counsellors will become mandatory reporters.

On 18 September 2019, the Victorian Parliament enacted the Children Legislation Amendment Act 2019 to include people in religious ministry as mandatory reporters to Child Protection. This includes when the report is based on a religious confession.

Table 1 - Victorian mandatory reporters

Pre-March 2019
  • Police officers
  • Registered medical practitioners
  • Nurses, including midwives
  • Registered teachers
  • School principals
From March 2019
  • Out-of-home care workers
  • Youth justice workers
  • Early childhood workers
  • Registered psychologists
Early 2020
  • School counsellors
  • People in religious ministry

A number of resources have been developed to ensure mandatory reporters understand their role and meet their obligations, including mandatory reporting modules for school and early childhood staff. A community education package has also been developed to promote child wellbeing and safety, and to assist organisations in relation to making reports to Child Protection.

Institutional reporting and complaint handling

Victoria’s Reportable Conduct Scheme requires organisations that exercise close care, supervision or authority over children to respond to allegations of child-related misconduct made against their workers and volunteers. In 2019, approved education and care services (e.g. kindergartens), children’s services (e.g. occasional care providers) and statutory bodies that have responsibility for children (e.g. public museums and galleries) were required to comply with Victoria’s Reportable Conduct Scheme. Other organisations such as schools, out-of-home care service providers, and religious bodies are already included in the Scheme.