Duties to report

State of Victoria

Duty of every Victorian adult to report child sexual abuse

Any adult who forms a reasonable belief that a sexual offence has been committed by an adult against a child under 16 has an obligation to report that information to Police. Failure to disclose the information to Police is a criminal offence: Crimes Act 1958 (Vic), s327.

Duty of responsible organisational person to act to protect

A person who knows of a substantial risk of child abuse by someone over 18 years of age associated with the organisation, and has the power or responsibility to reduce or remove that risk and negligently fails to do so, commits a criminal offence under this section, punishable by 5 years imprisonment; Crimes Act 1958 (Vic), s49O:

Duty of the holder of a WWC to report any change in circumstances

The holder of a Working with Children Card in Victoria is subject to a statutory obligation to notify the Secretary to the Department of Justice and the Diocese and Kooyoora Office of Professional Standards of any relevant change in circumstances as defined in that section: Working with Children Act 2005 (Vic), s20.

Duty of Head of Entity to report conduct to the Commission for Children and Young People

Under the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005, the relevant religious body for the Anglican Church in the Diocese of Melbourne including its parishes is the Melbourne Anglican Diocesan Corporation Ltd (the Diocesan Corporation) which legally appoints all office holders.

The Head of the Entity constituted by the Diocesan Corporation is the Archbishop of Melbourne.

The Head of the Entity has a duty under the Act to notify the Commission for Children and Young People of reportable allegations and take further specified action. The Kooyoora Office of Professional Standards has undertaken to notify on behalf of the Archbishop the Commission and take further action as may be required under the Act.

Under these arrangements, there is one notifying body on behalf of the Diocese and its parishes.

It is essential to the effective operation of these arrangements that those exercising leadership positions in parishes and congregations strictly observe the requirements for mandatory reporting to the Director of Professional Standards at dps@kooyoora.org.au. Failure to do so will put at risk due compliance with the requirements of the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act by the Diocese.

Anglican Diocese of Melbourne

Duty of prescribed Church worker to report to Professional Standards

A prescribed Church worker who believes on reasonable grounds that a person has suffered harm, or is at risk of harm, as a result of misconduct by another Church worker and has no reason to believe that the Director of Professional Standards is aware of those facts, must as soon as possible report the matter to the Director: Professional Standards Uniform Act 2016, s17.

Prescribed Church workers are defined in schedule 1 of that Act and include all clergy and lay leaders including Parish Council members.

The Archbishop is subject to a similar reporting obligation under the Episcopal Standards legislation of the diocese.

Duty of every Church worker to report certain criminal charges made against them

A Church worker (clergy or lay person) who has been charged in any jurisdiction in Australia or elsewhere with a sexual offence, including grooming or an offence relating to child pornography whether committed within or outside the Diocese must forthwith notify in writing the Director of Professional Standards at dps@kooyoora.org.au, giving particulars of the charge: Professional Standards Uniform Act 2016, s18.

Frequently asked questions

Reportable Conduct Scheme

From 1 January 2018 religious organisations, including the Diocese of Melbourne, became subject to the Reportable Conduct Scheme, constituted under the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005. This information sheet explains the primary role to be taken by the Kooyoora Office of Professional Standards for the Diocese of Melbourne in reporting matters on behalf of the Diocese and parishes.

What is the Reportable Conduct Scheme?

The Reportable Conduct Scheme is one of the measures introduced by the Victorian government for the protection of children as a result of the recommendations of the Betrayal of Trust Inquiry. The Scheme requires organisations to notify the Commission for Children and Young People of allegations of physical or sexual abuse of a child and related misconduct.

Who must notify the Commission?

For the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne and its parishes and congregations, the Archbishop of Melbourne must notify the Commission.

Under the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005, the relevant religious body for the Anglican Church in the Diocese of Melbourne including its parishes is the Melbourne Anglican Diocesan Corporation Ltd (the Diocesan Corporation) which appoints all office holders.

The Head of the entity constituted by the Diocesan Corporation is the Archbishop of Melbourne.

The Head of the entity has a duty under the Act to notify the Commission for Children and Young People of reportable allegations and take further specified action. The Kooyoora Office of Professional Standards has undertaken to notify on behalf of the Archbishop and the Diocese the Commission and take further action as may be required under the Act.

Under these arrangements, there is one notifying body on behalf of the Archbishop and the Diocese and its parishes.

It is essential to the effective operation of these arrangements that those exercising leadership positions in parishes and congregations strictly observe the requirements for mandatory reporting to the Director of Professional Standards at dps@kooyoora.org.au. Failure to do so will put at risk due compliance with the requirements of the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act by the Diocese.

What is a reportable allegation?

A reportable allegation means any information that leads a person to form a reasonable belief that an employee has committed –

  1. reportable conduct; or
  2. misconduct that may involve reportable conduct—
    whether or not the conduct or misconduct is alleged to have occurred within the course of the person’s employment.
Who is an employee?

An employee is a person over 18 and employed by the organisation. Also deemed to be employees are volunteers, contractors, and priests.

All employees, whether or not they work with children, are subject to the Scheme. Due to the definition including volunteers, parish office holders and even members of the congregation are subject to the Scheme.

What is reportable conduct?

There are five types of reportable conduct:

  • a sexual offence committed against, with or in the presence of, a child, whether or not a criminal proceeding in relation to the offence has been commenced or concluded; or
  •  sexual misconduct, committed against, with or in the presence of, a child; or
  • physical violence committed against, with or in the presence of, a child;
  • or any behaviour that causes significant emotional or psychological harm to a child; or
  • significant neglect of a child.
When do you report?

Clergy, parish council members, churchwardens and other parish lay leaders need to report to the Director of Professional Standards at Kooyoora immediately it becomes apparent that a person (not necessarily the person making the report) holds a reasonable belief that reportable conduct may have occurred.

Who evaluates the allegation?

The Kooyoora Office of Professional Standards will report the allegation to the Commission, and also to oversee an investigation under both the Child Well-being and Safety Act and the diocesan professional standards scheme. The investigation is not to be conducted at a parish level.

What about historical conduct?

An allegation made after 1 January 2018 relating to conduct committed by a person who is an employee (as defined) prior to that date must be reported.

What if the reportable conduct has occurred outside work or outside the parish?

If the conduct has taken place outside work or the parish (for example, at home or in the community), there is still an obligation to report.

I’m not sure whether to make a report. What do I do?

Ring the Director of Professional Standards at Kooyoora on 9416 1008 or 1800 135 246 for further information.

More information