Improving institutional responding and reporting (Volume 7)

Implementation status of Volume 7 recommendations directed at the Victorian Government

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In this volume, the Royal Commission examined institutional responses to complaints of child sexual abuse, how they report these matters to external government authorities, and the need for independent oversight of reporting and complaint handling by institutions.

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.

Guidance for mandatory reporters

The Victorian Government currently has a significant suite of resources available online to support Victoria’s mandatory reporters. This includes tailored factsheets and answers to frequently asked questions. These resources are available via the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing website

Further, the government has developed a community education pack that includes a presentation and facilitator's guide to support and educate reporter groups on their obligations. This is available via the electronic Child Protection Manual

Alternative online reporting pathway for sexual offences

In the 2022–23 State Budget, the Victorian Government provided funding to design an alternative online reporting pathway for sexual offences. This funding aims to address high levels of underreporting and provide victim survivors with greater choice. The design will consider the recommendation relating to an online pathway to report sexual offences made in the Victorian Law Reform Commission report on Improving the Justice System Responses to Sexual Offences, published in November 2021.

In the coming twelve months, consultation and research will be undertaken on the design of the pathway, including consideration of risks, challenges and safety for children and young people who may choose to access an online pathway (when operational) and reports that relate to child sexual abuse offences.

Reportable Conduct Scheme

The statutory review of Victoria's Reportable Conduct Scheme is currently underway. The review will address the scope of entities required to comply with the Scheme, as well as the overall operation of the Scheme. The government will prepare a report for the Minister for Child Protection and Family Services and intends to table it in Parliament by July 2023.

The Orange Door network

The Orange Door network is a free service for adults, children and young people who are experiencing or have experienced family violence, or who need assistance with the care and wellbeing of children and young people. Sexual assault, including child sexual assault, often occurs in the context of family violence. The Orange Door network provides access to immediate and longer-term support ranging from crisis support to case management and counselling.

In the 2021–22 State Budget, the Department of Justice and Community Safety received $2 million over four years to trial and embed legal services within The Orange Door network. This funding will deliver a pilot program which intends to provide more holistic support to clients and strengthens referral pathways between participating legal services and The Orange Door network, in a culturally safe environment.