Chapter 1 — About the Information Sharing Schemes
The Child Information Sharing Scheme and the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (the Information Sharing Schemes) were introduced in response to Royal Commissions, coronial inquests and independent inquiries over the past decade that identified poor information sharing as a barrier to service collaboration with detrimental outcomes for children and families.
The Child Information Sharing Scheme enables prescribed Information Sharing Entities (including all schools) to share confidential information about any person, at any time, to promote the wellbeing or safety of children where requirements for sharing are met. Any person’s information can be shared without their consent to promote the wellbeing or safety of a child or group of children. Historical information can also be shared if it meets the relevant requirements for sharing.
By using the Child Information Sharing Scheme, schools can obtain a more complete picture of a student, to promote the student’s wellbeing or safety.
All Victorian children under the age of 18 years are covered, as well as unborn children who are the subject of a report to Child FIRST or Child Protection.
The Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme enables prescribed Information Sharing Entities (including all schools) to share relevant information to assess or manage risk of family violence to children and adults. Consent is not required from any person, including third parties, to share information to assess or manage family violence risk to a child. Information can be shared with other Information Sharing Entities for the management of family violence risk. Only Risk Assessment Entities, a specialist subset of Information Sharing Entities, can request and receive information to assess for family violence risk.
Any personal, health and sensitive information (that is not excluded information), such as observations and school records, that is relevant to promoting the wellbeing or safety of a child or group of children or assessing or managing family violence risk about a perpetrator, victim survivors (adult or child), or a third party can be shared.
The Information Sharing Schemes enable Information Sharing Entities to request and share all relevant information with each other to promote the wellbeing or safety of children or to assess or manage family violence risk when certain requirements for sharing are met.
If the request for information meets the requirements for sharing, to the extent necessary all relevant information held by the school must be shared in a timely manner. Schools should work with the requesting Information Sharing Entities to determine the timing and urgency of the request.
Under the Information Sharing Schemes, schools and other Information Sharing Entities must:
- respond to requests for information to promote child wellbeing or safety or to assess or manage family violence risk and provide all requested information that meets the requirements for sharing
- request information to promote child wellbeing or safety or to manage family violence risk
- proactively share information to promote child wellbeing or safety or to assess or manage family violence risk.
The Information Sharing Schemes complement and expand upon existing information sharing and child protection laws and do not replace existing authorisations to share information such as the Child Safe Standards, reporting to Child Protection or Victoria Police, the Reportable Conduct Scheme and other privacy and information sharing laws.
Schools should continue to use and share information using existing Department policies and information sharing mechanisms. However, there may be times when it is appropriate to use the Information Sharing Schemes to request and share confidential information with authorised services. For example, where a school determines that insufficient information is available to effectively support a student’s wellbeing or safety, the school can use the Information Sharing Schemes to request and proactively share information with authorised services, such as with Child Protection.
Reviewed 19 April 2021