Announcement regarding Restorative Engagement and Redress Scheme
On 20 October the Victorian Government announced that a new independent body will be established to oversee a restorative engagement and redress scheme for victims of workplace sexual harassment and sexual assault at Victoria Police.
While the details of the scheme will be finalised next year, it will provide:
- eligibility for financial redress for Victoria Police employees who have experienced sexual abuse or harassment of a criminal nature, or systemic sexual discrimination or harassment, in the workplace
- broad eligibility for Victoria Police employees who have experienced a wide range of workplace sexual harassment and discrimination to receive counselling and support services, access to non-financial redress and the opportunity to participate in a restorative engagement process with Victoria Police.
Importantly, the threshold for redress will be based on whether a person’s account is plausible – rather than proven – which means individuals will not be required to produce extensive documentation or evidence to prove their account.
A dedicated reference group, including representatives from The Police Association and the Community and Public Sector Union, will now be established to advise on the design and operation of the scheme.
Overview of the consultation
In December 2015, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) conducted an independent review into sex discrimination and sexual harassment within Victoria Police.
The Commission recommended that Victoria Police (supported by the Victorian Government) should develop a restorative engagement and redress scheme for police personnel who have experienced sex discrimination and sexual harassment in the course of their employment.
A consultation paper was prepared to seek feedback from current and former employees of Victoria Police and their families. Organisations with an interest in the scheme were invited by letter to make a submission.
Views submitted were considered by the government in making decisions about a Victoria Police restorative engagement and redress scheme.
What is a restorative engagement and redress scheme?
Restorative engagement is the process by which an individual who has experienced workplace harm, such as sexual harassment or sex discrimination, is able to engage with Victoria Police to tell their story and have their experience acknowledged.
Redress is a form of remedy for a harm against an individual or group. A redress scheme provides benefits to individuals in acknowledgement that they experienced something that should not have occurred. Benefits may be financial, such as an acknowledgement payment, or non-financial, such as access to support services, or both.
It is different from financial compensation determined by a court. Redress schemes may provide lower benefits compared with compensation, but provide an easier and faster means of obtaining recognition.
Submissions and privacy
Submissions made by individuals are confidential, will not be published and may be made anonymously.
They will be held by the Department of Justice and Regulation. The department may do the following with your submission:
- use it to inform the development of a Victoria Police restorative engagement and redress scheme
- quote directly from it in internal working documentation.
Submissions will then be archived and be unavailable for any other purpose.
Submissions by individuals will not be provided to Victoria Police under any circumstances. Following the consultation, Victoria Police will be provided with a summary of the key themes from the feedback that contains no identifying information. If you freely provide personal information or sensitive information, this is deemed to be consent to its collection. This information will be held by the Department of Justice and Regulation exclusively for the purposes above.
Submissions made by organisations will not be published, but may be shared with Victoria Police.
Complaints and allegations
Please note that the purpose of this consultation was for the Department of Justice and Regulation to seek your views about the design of a restorative engagement and redress scheme. It is not an avenue to raise complaints or allegations of misconduct against Victoria Police personnel. If allegations have been raised within submissions, no further action will be taken in response.
Should you wish to make a complaint about the conduct of an employee of Victoria Police, please contact either of the following organisations:
Police Conduct Unit
Ph: 1300 363 101
Post: GPO Box 913, Melbourne VIC 3001
Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission
Ph: 1300 735 135
Post: GPO Box 24234, Melbourne VIC 3001