Improving institutional responding and reporting (volume 7)

The Victorian Government is working to ensure that when child sexual abuse occurs, it is reported, and complaints are handled appropriately by both government and non-government institutions. The Victorian Government is committed to ensuring independent oversight of reporting and complaint handling by institutions.

Reporting child abuse

In 2020, Victoria completed its expansion of mandatory reporter groups in line with the Royal Commission’s recommendation. School counsellors and people in religious ministry are now mandatory reporters to Child Protection (Table 3).

In Victoria, people in religious ministry must now report to Child Protection if they form a reasonable belief a child has been physically or sexually abused. This reporting requirement applies even where the information that led to the belief was learned during confession.

Resources were developed to support these additional groups to understand their new reporting obligations, and information sessions were also held for people in religious ministry in early 2020.

Earlier this year, the Victorian Government also updated mandatory reporting modules and guidance for school and early childhood staff on the Protect website to ensure mandatory reporters understand their role and meet their obligations.

Table 3. Victorian mandatory reporters

Pre-Royal Commission
  • police officers
  • registered medical practitioners
  • nurses, including midwives
  • registered teachers
  • school principals
From March 2019
  • care services workers
  • youth justice workers
  • early childhood workers
  • registered psychologists
From February 2020
  • school counsellors
  • people in religious ministry

Institutional reporting and complaint handling

Victoria’s Reportable Conduct Scheme closely aligns with the reportable conduct scheme recommended by the Royal Commission. It 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. Victoria’s Reportable Conduct Scheme is overseen by the Commission for Children and Young People.

In March 2020, amendments were made to the Child Wellbeing and Safety Regulations 2017 requiring youth organisations that provide overnight camps for children as part of their main activities to comply with the Reportable Conduct Scheme.