Preventing and Responding to Abuse in Services Policy

SDMS Id Number:


Effective From:

May 2014

Replaces Doc. No:


Custodian and Review Responsibility:

Disability Services Policy and Programs


Director, Disability Services Policy and Programs

Applies to:

All services provided or funded, in whole or in part, by Disability and Community Services

Policy Type:

DHHS wide Policy

Review Date:

May 2017


abuse, prevent, respond, disability

Routine Disclosure:



Prepared by

Senior Program Officer, Disability Services Policy and Programs

1300 135 513

27 March 2014


Manager, Disability Services Policy and Programs

1300 135 513

4 April 2014


Director, Disability and Community Services

1300 135 513

15 April 2014

Cleared by

Deputy Secretary, Disability, Housing and Community Services

1300 135 513

15 April 2014

Revision History


Approved by name

Approved by title

Amendment notes



Position Title



Position Title



Position Title



The purpose of this policy is to:

  • outlines the obligations that specialist service providers have when delivering specialist disability support and the steps to take to prevent abuse and protect a person/s from harm.
  • assists service providers and staff in their response to situations where allegations of abuse have occurred and provide a basis for service providers to develop local procedures appropriate to the services they provide and to the nature of their particular organisation.
  • outlines essential elements of best practicein responding to allegations of abuse and protecting the safety and interests of the alleged victim.

Transition to the NDIS

  • Until commencement of the Full Scheme NDIS on 1 July 2019 all providers delivering DCS funded specialist disability services and services to NDIS funded participants are required to maintain compliance with DCS policies and procedures.
  • Working collaboratively, open communication and information sharing during this transition period are essential. Providers with questions about DCS policies and procedures should contact their DCS Area Office, Community Partnership Team for clarification.
  • Existing arrangements relating to Quality and Safety will remain in place for all individuals and NDIS participants until a National Approach is finalised. Eg. providers are required to comply with the DHHS Quality and Safety Standards Framework for Tasmania's Agency Funded Community Sector and ensure compliance with the Tasmanian Disability Services Act (2011) and Tasmanian Disability Services Regulations (2015). Providers will be notified formally of any change in arrangements relating to quality assurance.

Mandatory Requirements

  • The Tasmanian Disability Services Act 2011 provides the legislative basis for the provision of specialist disability services.
  • The Act defines disability as an impairment that:
    • is attributable to  a cognitive, intellectual, psychiatric, sensory or physical impairment, or a combination of these, and
    • is permanent or likely to be permanent, and
    • results in a substantial reduction in the capacity of the person to  participate in everyday life, and
    • requires continuous significant support services, and
    • may or may not be of a chronic episodic nature.
  • To be eligible for specialist disability services in Tasmania, a person must:
    • have a disability as defined under the Act
    • live permanently in Tasmania
    • be an Australian citizen, or a permanent Australian resident, or a Temporary Protection Visa holder, or a member of a family on a work or study visa sponsored by the Australian Government
    • have a disability that manifests before the age of 65 years.
  • This policy must be read in conjunction with the Tasmanian Disability Services Act 2011 and the Eligibility for Access to Specialist Disability Services Guidelines P2010/1094-002.
  • The Tasmanian specialist disability sector will not add to or duplicate services provided by other state, federal or local governments. There are number conditions which are outside of the scope of specialist disability services. These may include some people with mental illness, chronic medical conditions and age related conditions.
  • This is a Department wide policy, the policy must not be re-interpreted and no other policy replaces it.
  • Failure to comply with this policy, without providing a good reason for doing so, will lead to disciplinary action.
  • Disciplinary action may mean a Penalty under the Tasmanian Disability Services Act 2011 or Breach of Funding Agreement.
  • Disciplinary action in this context may be a Penalty under the Tasmanian Disability Services Act 2011 or constitute a breach of your Funding Agreement with Department.

Roles and Responsibilities/Delegations

All Service Providers in the event of an alleged abuse

  • must ensure the client has immediate access to health care if required and that any injuries are documented and any evidence preserved
  • should preserve evidence of the alleged assault whilst first-aid should be administered until such time as independent medical and police assessment has been completed. First-aid should be administered as required
  • must ensure that in the case of alleged sexual assault, the victim should be encouraged not to bathe, wash, shower, change or discard their clothes
  • must complete an Allegation of Abuse Alert (AAA) ‘Form 1’ and provide this to Disability and Community Services (DCS) within two working days of being notified of an allegation of abuse (unless otherwise advised by the Police)
  • must provide a report to Disability and Community Services (DCS) regarding the progress of the matter on the Allegation of Abuse or Neglect Report (AANR) ‘Form 2’ and provide this to Disability and Community Services (DCS) within 28 calendar days
  • are required to:
  • inform the client’s guardian, person responsible or significant other of the alleged incident, and
  • notify Disability and Community Services (DCS) of the alleged incident on the prescribed form within 48 hours (unless otherwise advised by police)
  • are to note that other immediate action will depend on the nature, type and severity of the allegation and may include:
    • engaging additional staff to be on duty
    • ensuring that no further contact occurs between the alleged perpetrator and the alleged victim
    • redeploying  a staff member to another part of the service
    • suspending staff from work for the duration of the investigation
  • all Service Providers must contact Tasmania Police where the abuse might be considered a criminal offence under the Criminal Code Act 1924 and ensure the client has access to appropriate representation/advocacy to support them in making a complaint

Risk Implications

  • Non- compliance with this policy will result in a breach under the Tasmanian Disability Services Act 2011.


  • Specialist disability service providers are to ensure that all staff, whether employees or volunteers are appropriately qualified and skilled and where appropriate, credentialed and registered.
  • All staff, whether employees or volunteers are to be provided with adequate support, training, debriefing and directions to enable them to effectively perform their duties.


  • Failure to comply with this policy, without providing good reason for doing so, may lead to disciplinary action for Disability and Community Services (DCS) staff, or to action under Part 4, Division 2 of the Act for funded service providers.
  • It is the responsibility of community sector organisations and managers of community sector organisations and Area Managers, Disability and Community Services (DCS) to communicate this policy and guideline to their employees and ensure compliance.
  • This policy will be included in the work program of the Department Internal Audit function.
  • This work program is approved by the Department's Audit and Risk Committee.
  • The total focus of this assessment will be one of continuous quality improvement.


This Policy may be varied, withdrawn or replaced at any time. Compliance with this directive is mandatory for the Department. Please Destroy Printed Copies. The electronic version of this Policy is the approved and current version and is located on the Department's Strategic Document Management System. Any printed version is uncontrolled and therefore not current.

Printable Version