Keeping children safe from harm and promoting their wellbeing is a top priority for the Victorian Government. Victoria’s current legal framework limits the effective sharing of information between organisations that provide services to children and families. Information can be shared relatively easily with Child Protection when there is already a significant concern for a child’s wellbeing, or where there is a significant risk of harm and a child is in need of protection. Information may also be shared without consent if there is already a serious threat to an individual’s life, health, safety or welfare and a reasonable belief that disclosing information is necessary to lessen or prevent that threat. However, existing legislation does not appear to effectively enable organisations to share information with other organisations who work with children and young people, to facilitate prevention of harm or early intervention. The current legal framework has contributed to an overly risk-averse culture around information sharing in Victoria’s service system, which has had negative consequences for children and families.
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