Regional Victorians can now make a direct complaint about a disability worker through the Victorian Disability Worker Commission's complaints service.
The service is a key component of Victorian Government safeguards recently introduced to better protect people with disability.
The new safeguards were established in response to key recommendations of the Victorian Parliament's 2016 Inquiry into abuse in disability services which evidenced alarming abuse and neglect of Victorians with disability, including in regional areas.
Led by Commissioner Dan Stubbs, the Victorian Disability Worker Commission acts on complaints about the conduct of disability workers who pose a safety risk, with the power to ban any worker who is unfit to deliver disability services.
The Commission's complaints service operates with the backdrop of the current Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability, which has continued to hear cases of the disturbing mistreatment of Victorians with disability.
The Commission's complaints service hears concerns about disability workers across the state who breach new Victorian regulations for delivering disability services, including compliance with the Disability Service Safeguards Code of Conduct and formally notifying of unsafe conduct at work.
The new standards apply to all disability workers, including those who deliver NDIS, state government, charity or privately funded services, ensuring comprehensive protections are in place for people with disability regardless of how their service is funded.
Mr Stubbs said most disability workers are dedicated to supporting the rights and safety of service users, but the Commission would continue to take action on abuse and neglect of people with disability by a minority of workers.
"Disability workers play a valued role in supporting people with disability to participate and most workers deliver safe and respectful services. Unfortunately, since launching this year the Commission has been responding to daily complaints and enquiries about workers who pose a risk - and we're seeing a range of health and safety issues from physical abuse to breach of privacy.
"I encourage Victorians with disability, and their families, to use our independent complaints service. You have a right to speak up and make a complaint - reach out to us, we will listen and assist you."
The complaints service is independent and can receive complaints about a disability workers' work standards, knowledge, skilll or judgement, capacity to provide services safely and alleged breaches of the Disability Service Safeguards Act or the Disability Service Safeguards Code of Conduct.
The Commission also receives complaints if a disability worker has engaged in four types of notifiable conduct.
If the Commission does not have the power and scope to address a complaint, it will ensure complaints are referred to the right place.
Complaints can be made by phone 1800-497-132, by completing an online form at www.vdwc.vic.gov.au/making-complaints or in writing to GPO Box 181, Melbourne 3001.