This year the Victorian parliament legislated to establish the Reportable Conduct Scheme. Overseen by the Commission for Children and Young People, the legislation only applies in Victoria. The Reportable Conduct Scheme commenced on 1 July this year and aims to improve organisational responses to suspected child abuse by workers/volunteers and to identify people who pose a risk of harm to children.
From 1 January 2018, all religious organisations must report allegations of reportable conduct against workers and volunteers to the Commission for Children and Young People.
Moderator of the Vic/Tas synod Rev Sharon Hollis said the new legislation reflects the concern many have voiced about the impact of abuse on children. It is just one of a number of ways institutions can do all within their power to ensure their spaces are safe for children.
“We applaud these initiatives which are in line with our Keeping Children Safe Policy commitments to zero tolerance of all forms of abuse and ensuring children are protected and safe,” Ms Hollis said.
“Preventing child abuse is both an individual and collective responsibility of the Uniting Church and all who engage with it.”
A reportable conduct allegation can be made about any person over 18 years of age who is an employee/volunteer. A volunteer is defined as “an appointed leader of Uniting Church in Victoria.”
There are five types of reportable conduct. These include:
- 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
- sexual misconduct committed against, with, or in the presence of a child
- physical violence committed against, with, or in the presence of a child
- any behaviour that causes significant emotional or psychological harm to a child
- significant neglect of a child.
From 1 January, anyone who has a reasonable belief that reportable conduct against a worker or volunteer who is an appointed leader has occurred must report to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also report directly to the Commission for Children and Young People:
Tel: (03) 8601 5281
If you would like further information on the scheme please refer to the Commission for Children and Young People website.
Or contact the Keeping Children Safe unit at email@example.com for more information.