Communities and Justice

Other considerations regarding information sharing

What can/should I do where there are children involved?

Domestic violence and child abuse should not be viewed separately, the safety of children is interwoven with that of the adult victim-survivor, and the non-offending parent must be supported to achieve safety for themselves and their children.

If you are a mandatory reporter under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (CYPCP Act), your mandatory reporting obligations continue. Where you have concerns for the safety, welfare or wellbeing of a child or a young person, you must complete the online mandatory reporter guide. The outcome of the guide will direct the service provider to make a report to the Child Protection Helpline or to the Child Wellbeing Unit where available, or to take any other action as required under the CYPCP Act.

If you are a prescribed body under the CYPCP Act you may exchange information that relates to the safety, welfare or wellbeing of a child or young person under Chapter 16A of the CYPCP Act.

You should also take any actions to ensure the adult victim-survivor receives support services, and share information under Part 13A as required.

If you are not a prescribed body, or Chapter 16A does not apply, you can take actions by sharing information under Part 13A - to make referrals for domestic violence support services, or share information more broadly to reduce or prevent a serious threat.

For more information and guidance, refer to the Domestic Violence and Child Protection Guidelines (PDF, 269.5 KB)

I've received a complaint about information sharing, what should I do?

You should follow normal complaint procedures in your agency.

For more information on complaints handling see Chapter 19 of the Information Sharing Protocol.

How do I deal with a conflict of interest?

A conflict of interest occurs when your agency's or your relationship with, or services to the victim is compromised, or might be compromised, because of an existing professional or personal relationship with:

  • the victim-survivor;
  • the perpetrator; and/or
  • a third party (for example, a family member of the perpetrator).  

In these situations, it may not be appropriate for you or your agency to work with the victim.

Conflicts of interest can raise questions about the privacy of information for the victim-survivor, which may have implications for their safety, be these actual or perceived.

The actual or perceived safety of your client must be a primary consideration when dealing with a conflict of interest. For this reason, it is generally good practice for different services to deal with victim-survivors and perpetrators separately to avoid any real or perceived conflict of interest. Given the potential for serious threats and the sensitive nature of the work in the domestic violence context, services must have policies and procedures to ensure they can assist victim-survivors in a way that makes them feel protected and safe and that their privacy is protected.

Where you identify a conflict of interest, you should declare the matter immediately and escalate to a line manager for consideration whether the conflict can be dealt with through internal policies or procedures. If the conflict of interest can be managed in such a way that the safety and wellbeing of the client is not compromised, then you may continue to work with the client, or your agency may provide services to both the victim-survivor and the perpetrator.

The following questions will help you consider whether internal policies and processes are adequate to manage such a situation:

  • Are procedures in place to identify and respond to conflicts of interest?
  • Are procedures in place to ensure that separate staff members or teams work with the victim-survivor and the perpetrator?
  • Will the victim-survivor feel safe and protected, and confident that their information will remain confidential?
  • Are there information barriers so that information (verbal and written) about the victim-survivor cannot be shared with workers who:
    •  have a personal relationship with the victim-survivor, or
    •    have a professional or personal relationship with the perpetrator?
  • If an identified conflict of interest can be managed internally, will an external party (client or other service provider) still perceive that the conflict of interest exists?
  • Are there processes to monitor timing of appointments to ensure the victim-survivor and perpetrator do not come face to face in or around the premises?

Where you identify that there may be a conflict of interest you should consider:

  • Can I/my agency manage the conflict of interest in a way that will protect the client's safety and not breach their privacy?

If the answer is yes, you can continue to work with the client.

More detail about conflict of interest is available in the Information Sharing Protocol.

Last updated:

21 Nov 2022