Skip to content
State Government of Victoria logo
Service Agreement Information Kit for Funded Organisations

4.4 Responding to allegations of physical or sexual assault

Department of Health and Human Services

Who does this policy apply to?

The Responding to allegations of physical or sexual assault instruction applies to services directly delivered or funded by the Department of Health and Human Services including families and children, youth justice, housing and homelessness, disability services, alcohol and drug treatment services, mental health community support services, home and community care, aged care, carer support programs and registered community health centres providing community and women’s health programs.

Policy purpose

  • To outline the immediate response requirements for all services directly delivered or funded by the Department of Health and Human Services in response to an allegation of physical of sexual assault that involves a client.
  • The aims of the instruction are to:
    • ensure timely and effective responses are taken to address immediate client safety and well being
    • support clients who have experienced physical or sexual assault
    • be accountable to clients for actions taken immediately and planned in response to their experience of an assault
    • ensure due diligence and responsibilities to clients are met
    • hold perpetrators of physical and sexual assault accountable for their actions

Legislation and /or regulation

Nil

Organisation requirements

All service providers who are funded or directly deliver services to Department of Health and Human services clients must follow the requirements outlined in the Responding the allegations of physical or sexual assault following an allegation of physical or sexual assault that involves a client.

The former Department of Human Services instruction on Responding to allegations of physical or sexual assault and the Quality of Support Review guideline must be read in conjunction with the former Department of Human Services Critical client incident management instruction.

These instructions and guideline (as well as other related information) are available on the Funded Agency Channel website at http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/funded-agency-channel/about-service-agreements/incident-reporting (external link, opens in a new window).

For further information

Department of Health and Human Services (human services)

Karen Stewart, Acting Manager, Quality and Oversight, Safeguarding and Disability Supports branch, Community Services Programs and Design division
Telephone: (03) 9096 8018
Email: karen.stewart@dhhs.vic.gov.au

Department of Health and Human Services (health)

Shane Quinn, Manger, Regions and Regional Strategy, Service Design and Operations Division
Telephone: (03) 9096 0506
Email: shane.quinn@dhhs.vic.gov.au

Offence for failure to disclose child sexual abuse

The offence for failure to disclose child sexual abuse to the police came into effect on 27 October 2014.

Further information about the offence and how to report is available on the human services New criminal offences to improve responses to child sexual abuse (external link, opens in a new window) web page.

New offence for failure to protect children from the risk of sexual abuse

The new offence for 'failure to protect' a child from a risk of sexual abuse commenced on 1 July 2015.

A fact sheet about the offence is available to download from the human servicesNew criminal offences to improve responses to child sexual abuse (external link, opens in a new window) web page. Alternatively, you can email childsafestandards@dhhs.vic.gov.au

Department of Education and Training

The former Department of Human Services' policy in relation to allegations of physical and sexual assault applies to all Department of Education and Training (DET) funded organisations.

In responding to allegations of physical or sexual assault, refer to the former Department of Human Services' instructions and other relevant information on the Incident Reporting web page at:
http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/funded-agency-channel/about-service-agreements/incident-reporting

Further resources:

Child Safe Standards

The Child Safe Standards are compulsory minimum standards for all funded organisations, licensed and approved early childhood services and Victorian schools.  The Child Safe Standards require organisations to take steps to create a culture of child safety and protect children from all forms of abuse and neglect.

The Child Safe Standards formally commenced on 1 January 2016 and there is an initial focus on capacity building and support for organisations.

Further information for early childhood services operating under the National Quality Framework or Children's Services Act 1996 is available on the Child Safe Standards regulatory page or by
Phone: 1300 307 415.
Email: licensed.childrens.services@edumail.vic.gov.au

Other organisations providing services for children can contact the Department of Health and Human Services for further information:
Phone: (03) 9096 0000.
Email: childsafestandards@dhhs.vic.gov.au

Resources

Child Safe Standards http://www.vrqa.vic.gov.au/childsafe/Pages/default.aspx (external link, opens in a new window) and The Child Safe Standards http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/health/Pages/childsafe.aspx (external link, opnes in a new window)

Offences relating to the sexual abuse of children

The following criminal offences were introduced to improve responses within organisations and the community to child sexual abuse.

DET staff and all staff associated with organisations funded by DET should be aware of, and comply with relevant legislation, standards, screening and program requirements, and policies on preventing, reporting and responding to child sexual abuse.

Offence for failure to disclose child sexual abuse

The offence for failure to disclose child sexual abuse to the police came into effect on 27 October 2014.

Offence for failure to protect children from the risk of sexual abuse

The new offence for 'failure to protect' a child from a risk of sexual abuse commenced on 1 July 2015.

Further information about these offence and the reporting process are available on the former Department of Human Services’ New criminal offences to improve responses to child sexual abuse (external link, opens in a new window) web page. Alternatively, you can email childsafestandards@dhhs.vic.gov.au 

For further information

Manager, Student Incident and Recovery Unit, Emergency Management Division, Regional Services Group
Telephone: (03) 9637 2934
Email: siru@edumail.vic.gov.au