What you can make a complaint about
We want our services to work for children and young people in care services.
Children and young people in care services have the right to feel safe and secure and to tell someone how they feel, including if they are unhappy or have a concern about their care.
The department's complaints team is here to listen you and help you with your concerns.
Video: You can make a complaint
If you are worried about your safety right now, you should call the police on 000.
It's OK to tell someone.
All children or young people living in care services have rights.
You have the right to:
- be safe and feel safe
- say how you feel and be heard
- tell someone if you are unhappy.
You might be unhappy with your care or a person who looks after you – or anything else that makes you feel unsafe or unhappy. The department’s complaints team is also here to listen to you and help you with your concerns.
You may be able to seek a review of decisions that relate to your care through your case manager. A lawyer may also help you do this.
Step 1: Talk to a carer or someone you trust that looks after you.
You could talk to your case manager or teacher. They might be able to help you work things out.
You can also ask to speak to your case worker’s manager.
Step 2: You can contact our friendly complaints team by:
- Phone 1300 884 706
- Email the Complaints team: email@example.com
- Send us your complaint using our Complaints form.
We will listen to you and tell you how we can help.
We will also take action to ensure you are safe.
If you are unhappy with a decision that has been made about your care or have questions about your child protection order, you can speak to a lawyer.
Lawyers can also help with other legal issues like:
- Knowing your rights with the police
- Money you may owe, including fines
- Relationship problems and family violence
- A contract or agreement you have signed
- Decisions about Centrelink, NDIS or a visa
For free legal help contact:
You may also want to complain to one of these organisations:
Kids Helpline is a free and confidential phone counselling service for children and young people between 5 and 25 years old.
Phone: 1800 55 1800
Disability Services Commissioner
The Disability Services Commissioner works with people with a disability, and disability services to respond to complaints.
Phone: 1800 677 342 (free call)
TTY service for people with hearing or speech difficulties: 1300 726 563.
Health Complaints Commissioner
The Health Complaints Commissioner receives and responds to complaints about your health and health information in Victoria.
Phone: 1300 582 113
The Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission
The Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission can help you if your complaint is about a public mental health service in Victoria.
Phone: 1800 246 054
Police Conduct Unit – Victoria Police
You can make a complaint about your experience with Victoria Police. This includes concerns about the actions or behaviour of police officers. To make a complaint you can:
- speak with the police officer in charge of your local police station. Find your local police station.
- make a complaint to the Police Conduct Unit. You do not have to give your name or details if you wish.
- Make an online complaint
- Make a complaint by email or post or phone: 1300 363 101.
Complaints can be made about protective service officers, police custody officers or any other person working for Victoria Police.
The Victorian Ombudsman is independent and not part of the department. They can look at complaints about the department or any government organisation. You can make a complaint to the Ombudsman about your worker or how you are treated.
You can make a complaint to the Ombudsman if:
- you have already told a carer, worker, manager or the department what's wrong but are still unhappy
- you don’t feel like you can tell a carer, worker, manager or the department what's wrong – for example, if you feel unsafe or worried about what will happen to you if you make a complaint.
The Victorian Ombudsman also has a conciliation process.
Conciliation is a different way of finding a solution to a complaint or concern. It is a voluntary process.
It requires the people involved to speak together with an independent person or organisation to try and find a solution that everyone would be happy with. For more information please see the Fact sheet - for public organisations - conciliation by Victorian Ombudsman (PDF).
Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner
The Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner will investigate complaints about a Victorian Government agency or local council’s failure to comply with one or more of the Information Privacy Principles. Phone: 1300 666 444
If English is not your first language, we can help you with an interpreter.
We understand that making a complaint can sometimes involve personal issues, and we are here to help you with the process.
You could also ask someone else to lodge a complaint for you. However, they must have your permission to do this.
What happens to the information collected about complaints?
We know your privacy is very important.
We collect information so we can respond to your complaint. This includes the information you tell us on the complaints form. We are legally required to take action to keep you safe.
We will speak with you about actions we can take to respond to your complaint. This might include sharing your information with the people who look after you. This might be your case manager, support worker or other areas within the department.
We might also collect information from an organisation that may look after you. This will help us respond to your complaint. Please let us know if you have any concerns about sharing of your information.
You have the legal right to see your information about you. This is called Freedom of Information (FOI). You can learn more about it from our FOI Team by phoning 9096 8449.
The team is responsible for managing your complaint, and listening to feedback, suggestions and compliments.
Planet Right and Getting It Right
Visit the CREATE website and see two videos to help you understand your rights in out-of-home care.
The Charter for Children in Out-of-Home Care
This Charter for children in out-of-home care lists the rights of children and young people in care services.
Guide to making a complaint in English, easy English and community languages
You can find the guide to making a complaint in English, easy English and community languages on the Making a complaint page.
Fact sheets for community service organisations and carers
A fact sheet has been prepared for carers looking after children and young people in care - Promoting complaints awareness in out-of-home-care (Word)
An easy-to-read fact sheet for children and young people in care - Raising concerns or complaints in care services for children and young people (Word)