Our Staff Code of Conduct Policy



Melbourne Disability Services recognises the right of all participants to feel safe and to live in an environment that provides protection from assault, neglect, exploitation, discrimination or any other form of abuse. People with disabilities, children and young people are some of the most vulnerable groups in our society. Melbourne Disability Services must identify, consult and respond to instances where persons with disabilities, children or young persons are at risk of significant harm.

Common reasons for people with disabilities, children and young people to be at risk of significant harm include:

  • domestic and family violence
  • physical, sexual and emotional abuse

The purpose of this policy is to prevent and mitigate the effects of violence, abuse and neglect on participants through training and implementing processes to inform staff and protect participants who are at risk of significant harm.




Melbourne Disability Services will encourage and support any person who has witnessed the abuse of a service user or, who suspects that abuse has occurred, to make a report and be confident of doing so without fear of retribution.




This policy aims to:

  • take a preventative, proactive and participatory approach to participant safety
  • value and empower the participant to contribute to decisions which affect their lives
  • foster a culture of openness that supports all persons to disclose the risks of harm to participant safety
  • respect diversity in cultures and child-rearing practices, while keeping the participant's safety paramount
  • provide training to staff on appropriate conduct and behaviour towards participants
  • engage only the most suitable people to work with participants and ensure superior quality staff, volunteer supervision and professional development
  • ensure participants know who to talk to if they are worried or feeling unsafe and that they are comfortable and encouraged to raise any issues
  • report suspected abuse, neglect or mistreatment promptly to the appropriate authorities
  • share information appropriately and lawfully with other organisations where the safety and wellbeing of the participant is at risk
  • value the input of families and advocates and communicate regularly with them.

In the case that situation meets the criteria of a reportable incident, then the Reportable Incident, Accident and Emergency Policy and Procedure will apply.


Statement of commitment to safety

Melbourne Disability Services is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all participants. This commitment is the primary focus of our support and decision making. Melbourne Disability Services is committed to providing a safe environment where participants are safe, and their voices are heard and included in decisions that affect their lives. Attention is paid to the cultural safety of participants from culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds.

All Melbourne Disability Services staff members have a responsibility to understand the critical and specific role they play, both individually and collectively, to ensure the wellbeing and safety of all participants and young people are at the forefront of all they do and every decision they make.


Safe Code of Conduct

Melbourne Disability Services is committed to the safety and wellbeing of participants. Our business recognises the importance of, and responsibility for, ensuring our environment is a safe, supportive and enriching environment that respects and fosters the dignity and self-esteem of all people, enabling them to thrive.

The Safe Code of Conduct aims to protect both our employees and participants and to reduce opportunities for abuse or harm to occur. It also assists in understanding how to avoid, or better manage, risky behaviours and situations. It is intended to complement child protection legislation, disability legislation, policies and procedures and professional standards, codes or ethics as these apply to all staff.

Melbourne Disability Services management supports the implementation and monitoring of the Code of Conduct. We will plan, implement and monitor arrangements to provide inclusive and safe environments.

All staff, volunteers, and any other community members involved in participant-related work are required to comply with the Code of Conduct by observing expectations for appropriate and acceptable behaviour (see '4.3 Acceptable behaviours' below). The Code of Conduct applies in all situations, including planned activities and the use of digital technology and social media.


Acceptable behaviours

Staff workers or any other persons involved with participant-related work are responsible for supporting and promoting the safety of participants by:

  • upholding Melbourne Disability Service's Statement of Commitment for the participant's safety
  • treating the participant, their family and advocates with respect within the environment and during outside activities as part of normal social and community activities
  • listening and responding to the views and concerns of the participant, particularly if they are reporting that they or another person have been abused; or that they are worried about their safety or the safety of another participant
  • promoting cultural safety, participation and empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through interactions with their community leaders and members
  • promoting the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of people with culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds through engagement with the community accessing the service
  • promoting the safety, participation and empowerment of people with disabilities
  • reporting any allegations of abuse or personal safety concerns to management
  • understanding and complying with all reporting or disclosure obligations (including mandatory state reporting), as they relate to protecting the participant from harm or abuse
  • maintaining the right to live in a safe environment by promoting and informing the participants of their rights
  • ensuring participants are safe and protected from harm, as quickly as possible, once abuse is suspected
  • identifying themselves to a participant upon entering premises and show any required identification.


Unacceptable behaviours

As front-line workers, volunteers and community members involved in participant-related work, our staff will not:

  • ignore or disregard any concerns, suspicions or disclosures of abuse
  • develop a relationship with any participant that could be viewed as favouritism or grooming behaviour, e.g. offering gifts
  • exhibit behaviours, or engage in activities, with participants that can be interpreted as abusive and unjustifiable in an educational, therapeutic or service delivery context
  • ignore behaviours by other adults towards young participants when they are overly familiar or inappropriate
  • discuss the content of an intimate nature or use sexual innuendo with participants, except where it occurs relevantly in the context of parental/advocate guidance or a therapeutic setting
  • treat a participant unfavourably because of their disability, age, gender, race, culture, vulnerability, sexuality or ethnicity
  • communicate directly with an underage participant, through personal or private contact channels, e.g. social media, email, instant messaging or texting, except where that communication is reasonable in all the circumstances, related to work or activities, or where there is a safety concern or other urgent matter.


Screening, supervising, training and human resource practices to reduce risk

Our staff will be required to undertake checks, including disability worker checks, relevant police, and working with children checks and the mandatory NDIS Worker Orientation Module. All records will be maintained in their personnel file.