Reporting an assault

Repeated Reports 

The requirement to report reportable assaults does not apply to later allegations which could include the following: 

  • Related to the same, or substantially the same, factual situation or event as an earlier allegation; 
  • Has previously been reported to a Police Officer and the Department; 
  • Where different people report the same event and/or the same person makes allegations repeatedly where these allegations have been followed up.

Protecting those who report 

The approved provider has an obligation to ensure that any staff member reporting a suspected or alleged reportable assault is not victimised for making the report and their identity is protected. 

Where a disclosure is made in good faith, the staff member is protected from civil or criminal liability for making the disclosure as well as defamation proceedings and adverse employment consequences. 

Disclosure of information qualifies for protection if: 

  • The person is an approved provider of residential aged care or a staff member of such an approved provider. The disclosure is made to one or all of the following: 
  • A Police Officer, or DSS, or the approved provider;
  • One of the approved provider’s key personnel; 
  • Another person authorised by the approved provider to receive such reports.

Disclosures to people other than those identified above – employees are bound by a confidentiality agreement; disclosure of incidents is a breach of confidentiality, and may result in termination of employment. 

Anonymous reporting of reportable assault

An employee may also report an assault anonymously or confidentially to the Aged Care Complaints Investigation Scheme. However, the protections outlined above would not apply in this circumstance. Employees may elect to make the report to an independent third party, rather than through the channels described above. Providing false or misleading information is a prosecutable offence. Such information is generally vexatious and deliberately intended to mislead. 

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