Contact details and more information

Support roles within the Department

Within the Department of Education and Training, there are a number of supports available to Victorian government schools responding to incidents, disclosures or suspicions of child abuse, including:

Security Services Unit (SSU)

The Security Services Unit provides a 24-hour communications centre for schools and Departmental staff to report a range of incidents. On receiving notification of an incident involving child abuse the Security Services Unit immediately alerts the Student Incident and Recovery Unit (SIRU) and relevant staff within the Central and Regional Office.

Regional Offices

Principals of Victorian government schools are required to maintain on-going contact with their Regional Office throughout any incidents, disclosures or suspicions of child abuse.

Each region has an emergency management contact/s. These officers can provide initial advice and support to Victorian government schools during and after incidents, and assists schools to minimise the effects of trauma and enhance recovery.

Student Incident and Recovery Unit (SIRU)

The Student Incident and Recovery Unit (SIRU) works with Victorian Government schools following incidents of a sexual nature to ensure appropriate advice and supports are in place that prioritise the health and wellbeing of the children involved. The SIRU is notified by the Security Services Unit as soon as an incident involving sexual abuse (or problem sexual behaviour) is reported.

The SIRU will:

  • provide timely and appropriate advice to Victorian Government schools
  • support regions and Victorian Government schools to respond to critical incidents of a sexual nature
  • advise Victorian Government schools to meet their legal obligations and duty of care responsibilities
  • assist Principals and senior school staff from Victorian Government schools to manage incidents of a sexual nature in a manner that ensures adverse impact on the school community is minimised
  • monitor the progress of school management of such incidents
  • provide advice on appropriate response measures, such as counselling and management strategies to support those involved in allegations of sexual offending or problem sexual behaviour
  • provide advice on the provision of a suitable level of support to school staff and members of the school community on whom the incident has impacted

The SIRU works closely with other key agencies, such as Victoria Police SOCIT and the DHHS, and with organisations such as the Centre against Sexual Assault (CASA) to support student wellbeing in Victorian Government schools.

Student Support Services

The role of the Student Support Services (SSS) is to provide support to Victorian Government schools including:

  • establishing a relationship with students and possibly their families
  • providing a supportive, calm approach and acknowledging the issues raised
  • clarifying the needs of the child
  • evaluating the child's present strengths and resources
  • evaluating possible ways of accommodating the child's identified needs, such as referral for specialist counselling and school-based supports
  • documenting information and actions
  • identifying the process for follow up and review
  • ascertaining which intervention programs are most appropriate in meeting an individual child's needs
  • working with the school staff on the appropriate strategies and supports needed for individual children

Employee Conduct Branch

The Employee Conduct Branch is responsible for the implementation of policy and the provision of advice on complaint resolution procedures, unsatisfactory performance, serious misconduct (which would include allegations of child abuse), equal opportunity complaints, managing appeals against disciplinary action, criminal records checks and police liaison, as it relates to Victorian Government school and DET employees.

The branch also manages discipline matters involving members of the teaching service (including Principal Class Officers), Student Support Services and public servants. A key role of the branch is to support Principals or designated officers in their management of processes, and provide advice to them concerning legislative and procedural frameworks.

The Employee Conduct Branch must be contacted on all issues of alleged serious misconduct including allegations of child abuse and grooming which involve a staff member employed by the Department. This includes teachers and Principals.

Legal Division

The Department's Legal Division provides specific advice to government school Principals in relation to incidents, disclosures and suspicions of child abuse.

Communications Division

The Department's Communications Division manages all Departmental media liaison, and can support Principals of Victorian government schools in responding to media enquiries relating to incidents, disclosures and suspicions of child abuse.

Support Roles Within Catholic Education

Within Catholic education, there are a number of supports available to schools when responding to incidents, disclosures or suspicions of child abuse. Catholic schools should contact their Diocesan education office for support and advice.

  • Archdiocese of Melbourne: Student Wellbeing Information Line on (03) 9267 0228
  • Diocese of Sale: Child Protection Officer on (03) 5622 6600
  • Diocese of Ballarat: Child Safety on (03) 5337 7135
  • Diocese of Sandhurst: Child Protection Officer on (03) 5443 2377

Roles of Other Relevant Authorities

DHHS Child Protection

Under the Children Youth and Families Act 2005 the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has a responsibility to provide child protection services for all children and young people under the age of 17 years, or where a protection order is in place, for children under the age of 18.

The main functions of DHHS Child Protection are to:

  • receive reports from people who believe that a child is in need of protection or have significant concerns about the wellbeing of a child
  • provide consultation and advice to people making reports
  • investigate matters where it is believed that a child is at risk of significant harm
  • refer children and families to services that assist in providing for the ongoing safety and wellbeing of children.

DHHS Child Protection will also intervene and bring cases before the Children's Court if a child’s safety cannot be managed without intervention. DHHS Child Protection has a responsibility to provide adequate supervision, care and protection for children in accordance with orders granted by the Children's Court.

Child FIRST

Child and Family Information, Referral and Support Teams (Child FIRST) were introduced to give families an opportunity to obtain family services earlier at their own request or following a referral from others, including school staff.

Child FIRST is staffed by family services practitioners who are experienced in assessing the needs of vulnerable children and their families. Child FIRST teams work closely with community-based DHHS Child Protection workers.

The role of Child FIRST includes:

  • providing a point of entry to a local network of family services
  • receiving reports about vulnerable children where there are significant concerns about their wellbeing
  • undertaking an initial identification and assessment of the risks to the child and the child’s needs in consultation with DHHS Child Protection and other services
  • identifying appropriate service responses for families.

Victoria Police

Both DHHS and Victoria Police have statutory responsibilities under the Children Youth and Families Act 2005 in relation to the protection of children. DHHS Child Protection is the lead agency responsible for the care and protection of children, while Victoria Police is responsible for criminal investigations into alleged child abuse.

Members of Victoria Police are protective interveners and mandatory reporters under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005. The predominant role of police in child abuse incidents is to detect and investigate alleged child physical and sexual abuse and to initiate legal proceedings where appropriate, against the alleged offender/s.

The key responsibilities of Victoria Police in relation to child abuse are to:

  • ensure all police members are aware of relevant legislation and their responsibilities
  • ensure all police accept and carry out their responsibilities under the Act
  • conduct all investigations on the basis that the safety and welfare of the child are paramount
  • plan investigations in collaboration with other, relevant agencies
  • work with other agencies in accordance with agreed work practices
  • provide information to other, relevant agencies
  • provide training for staff, and, jointly, with relevant agencies.

Victoria Police Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Teams (SOCIT) have been established to ensure that appropriately trained and qualified police officers are available to respond to and investigate allegations of child abuse and sexual offences.

Counselling/Support Organisations

The Centre Against Sexual Assault

There are 15 Centres Against Sexual Assault, who work to ensure that women, children and men who are victim/survivors of sexual offending have access to comprehensive and timely support and intervention to address their needs.

http://www.casa.org.au/    Phone: 1800 806 292

Gatehouse Centre, Royal Children's Hospital

Provides support and assistance to children and young people affected by sexual offending or problem sexual behaviours

http://ww2.rch.org.au/gatehouse/index.cfm?doc_id=1151

Children's Protection Society

Provide advice and support to children and families to help them break out of the cycle of abuse, neglect, poverty and disadvantage through a creative portfolio of programs, resources and services.

http://www.cps.org.au/   Phone: (03) 9450 0900

Australian Childhood Foundation

Provide recognised programs that counsel and support children to recovery, help professionals who work with children to better support at risk children and raise awareness of the causes and consequences of abuse.

http://www.childhood.org.au/home/    Phone: 1800 176 453

Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service

The Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service Co-operative Limited provides legal advice and representation for the Koorie community

http://www.vals.org.au    Phone: (03) 9322 3555 or country toll free on 1800 015 188

Child Wise

Child Wise is Australia's leading international child protection charity committed to the prevention and reduction of sexual abuse and exploitation of children around the world.

http://www.childwise.org.au/    Phone: (03) 9695 8900

Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services

Provides assistance to victims of family violence and sexual offending and to work with families and communities affected by violence.

http://www.fvpls.org/

headspace

headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation providing early intervention mental health services to 12-25 year olds, along with assistance in promoting young peoples’ wellbeing. This covers four core areas: mental health, physical health, work and study support and alcohol and other drug services.  Information and services for young people, their families and friends as well as health professionals can be accessed through this website, headspace centres, online counselling service eheadspace, and postvention suicide support program headspace School Support.

http://headspace.org.au/  

Contact Information

24 Hour Services

  • Victoria Police - 000
  • Department of Health and Human Services Child Protection - 131 278
  • Department of Education and Training Security Services Unit - (03) 9589 6266

Department of Education and Training

  • Security Services Unit - (03) 9589 6266
  • Student Incident and Recovery Unit - (03) 9637 2934 or (03) 9637 2487
  • Legal Division - (03) 9637 3146
  • Employee Assistance Program - 1300 361 008
  • Employee Health - (03) 9637 2395
  • Employee Conduct Branch - (03) 9637 2595
  • Privacy Unit - (03) 9637 3601
  • International Division - (03) 9651 3976
  • Communications Division - (03) 9637 2871

Catholic Education

  • Archdiocese of Melbourne: (03) 9267 028
    • Office of Professional Conduct, Ethics & Investigation
    • Legal Services
    • Student Wellbeing Information Line
    • Communications & Marketing Unit (Media Advisor)
  • Diocese of Sale: (03) 5622 6600
  • Diocese of Ballarat: (03) 5337 7135
  • Diocese of Sandhurst: (03) 5443 2377

Department of Health and Human Services Child Protection

REGION​LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS (LGAs)​PHONE NO
​Northern and western suburban LGAsBanyule, Brimbank, Darebin, Hobsons Bay, Hume, Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Melton, Moonee Valley, Moreland, Nillumbik, Whittlesea, Wyndham, Yarra​1300 664 977
Eastern suburban LGAs​​Boroondara, Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Monash, Whitehorse, Yarra Ranges​1300 360 391
Southern suburban LGAs​​Bayside, Cardinia, Casey, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Kingston, Mornington Peninsula, Port Phillip, Stonnington1300 655 795​
​West Rural and Regional LGSsArarat, Ballarat, Golden Plains, Hepburn, Hindmarsh, Horsham, Moorabool, Northern Grampians, Pyrenees, West Wimmera, Yarriambiack, Colac-Otway, Corangamite, Glenelg, Greater Geelong, Moyne, Queenscliffe, Southern Grampians, Surf Coast, Warrnambool​1800 075 599
North-western rural and regional LGAs​Buloke, Campaspe, Central Goldfields, Gannawarra, Greater Bendigo, Loddon, Macedon Ranges, Mildura, Mount Alexander, Swan Hill​1800 675 598​
North-eastern rural and regional LGAS ​​Alpine, Benalla, Greater Shepparton, Indigo, Mansfield, Mitchell, Moira, Murrindindi, Strathbogie, Towong, Wangaratta, Wodonga1800 650 227​
Eastern and south-eastern rural and regional LGAs​​Bass Coast, Baw Baw, East Gippsland, Latrobe, South Gippsland, Wellington1800 020 202​

Child FIRST

​Alpine - 1800 705 211
Ararat - 1300 783 341
Ballarat - 1300 783 341
Banyule - (03) 9450 0955
Bass Coast - (03) 5662 5150
Baw Baw - 1800 339 100
Bayside - 1300 367 441
Benalla - 1800 705 211
Boroondara - 1300 762 125
Brimbank - 1300 138 180
Buloke - 1300 665 218
Campaspe - 1800 260 338
Cardinia - (03) 9705 3939
Cardinia - Aboriginal children & families - (03) 9794 5973
Casey (03) 9705 3939
Casey - Aboriginal children & families - (03) 9794 5973
Central Goldfields - 1800 260 338
Colac-Otway - (03) 5232 5500
Corangamite - (03) 5232 5500
Darebin - (03) 9450 0955
East Gippsland - (03) 5152 0052
Frankston - 1300 721 383
Gannawarra - 1300 665 218
Glen Eira - 1300 367 441
Glenelg - 1300 543 779
Golden Plains - 1300 783 341
Greater Bendigo - 1800 260 338
Greater Dandenong - (03) 9705 3939
Greater Dandenong - Aboriginal children & families - (03) 9794 5973
Greater Geelong - 1300 551 948
Greater Shepparton - 1300 854 944
Hepburn - 1300 783 341
Hindmarsh - 1800 195 114
Hobson's Bay - 1300 775 160
Horsham - 1800 195 114
Hume - 1300 786 433
Indigo - 1800 705 211
Kingston - 1300 367 441
Knox - 1300 369 146
La Trobe - 1800 339 100
​Loddon - 1800 260 338
Macedon Ranges - 1800 260 338
Manningham - 1300 762 125
Mansfield - 1800 705 211
Maribyrnong - 1300 775 160
Maroondah - 1300 369 146
Melbourne - 1300 775 160
Melton - 1300 138 180
Mildura - 1300 625 533
Mitchell - 1800 663 107
Moira - 1300 854 944
Monash - 1300 762 125
Moonee Valley - 1300 775 160
Moorabool - 1300 783 341
Moreland - 1300 786 433
Mornington Peninsula - 1300 721 383
Mount Alexander - 1800 260 338
Moyne - 1300 543 779
Murrundindi - 1800 663 107
Nillumbik - (03) 9450 0955
Northern Grampians - 1800 195 114
Port Phillip - 1300 367 441
Pyrenees - 1300 783 341
Queenscliff - 1300 551 948
South Gippsland - (03) 5662 5150
Southern Grampians - 1300 543 779
Stonnington - 1300 367 441
Strathbogie - 1300 854 944
Surf Coast - 1300 551 948
Swan Hill - 1300 665 218
Towong - 1800 705 211
Wangaratta - 1800 705 211
Warrnambool - 1300 543 779
Wellington - (03) 5144 7777
West Wimmera - 1800 195 114
Whitehorse - 1300 762 125
Whittlesea - (03) 9450 0955
Wodonga - 1800 705 211
Wyndham - 1300 775 160
Yarra - (03) 9450 0955
Yarra Ranges - 1300 369 146
Yarriambiak - 1800 195 114

Other Services

  • Centres Against Sexual Assault (CASA) - Emergency Counselling & Support Line - 1800 806 292
  • Australian Childhood Foundation - 1800 176 453
  • Children's Protection Society - (03) 9450 0900
  • Child Wise - (03) 9695 8900
  • Vic Aboriginal Education Association - (03) 9481 0800
  • Child Safety Commission - 1300 782 978
  • Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner - 1800 880 176
  • Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) - (03) 9287 8800
  • Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) - (03) 9411 9411

Sexually Abusive Behaviour Treatment Services Providers

  • Aust Childhood Foundation - (03) 9874 3922
  • Children's Protection Society - (03) 9450 0900
  • Berry St - (03) 5822 8100
  • Mallee Sexual Assault - (03) 5025 5400
  • South Eastern CASA - (03) 9928 8741
  • Ballarat CASA - (03) 5320 3933
  • Barwon CASA - (03) 5222 4318
  • Campaspe CASA - (03) 5441 0430
  • Gippsland CASA - (03) 5134 3922
  • Goulburn Valley CASA - (03) 5831 2343
  • Upper Murray CASA - (03) 5722 2203
  • Wimmera CASA - (03) 5381 9272