From 1 July 2019, non-government organisations funded to deliver services to children by Victorian government departments, Court Services Victoria and Family Safety Victoria are required to be:

  • incorporated separate legal entities that can be sued in child abuse proceedings
  • appropriately insured against child abuse.

The Betrayal of Trust (External link) Report of 2013 found that survivors of institutional child abuse were sometimes unable to identify an appropriate legal entity to sue and even if they could those organisations sometimes did not have enough assets to be sued or meet compensation orders. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (External link) also recommended that governments consider requiring organisations they fund to be insured against child abuse.

In response, from 1 July 2019 the Victorian Government requires all non-government organisations, that are funded by the Victorian Government to deliver services to children, to be both incorporated and insured against child abuse.

The new requirements will improve the ability for child abuse survivors to bring a legal claim for compensation and ensure that there is enough money to pay successful claims.

The new requirements started from 1 July 2019 and only apply to new or varied funding agreements with the Victorian Government. Existing agreements entered into prior to 1 July 2019 are not affected. In the case of contracts under an established funding round, the new requirements will apply only after the commencement of the next funding round.

Services to children

'Services to children' means services provided by a non-government organisation that is responsible for the supervision of, or authority over, a child. This includes the provision of:

  • care
  • education
  • services or activities.

It does not include one-off activities, nor incidental or ad hoc contact with children. 

Becoming incorporated

Incorporating gives an organisation a formal legal structure, making it a 'legal person' that can enter into contracts in its own name such as borrowing money or obtaining insurance. More information about incorporation for not-for-profit organisations is available from Consumer Affairs Victoria (External link).

Not all Victorian non-government organisations need to incorporate, but if you are seeking a new funding contract with the Victorian Government to provide services to children this is a requirement from 1 July 2019. 

A Victorian Government funding provider may also agree to enter into an agreement with your unincorporated organisation if you are working towards, and will achieve, incorporation within 12 months of the start of the new contract. 

Become incorporated (External link)

Obtaining insurance

Your organisation will need to speak to its current insurance provider to determine if they will provide insurance against liability for child sexual abuse. If they do not provide this type of cover, your organisation may need to seek other insurance providers.

Discuss with your insurance provider the level of insurance required, however it must meet the following minimum standards: 

  • insurance obtained on an 'occurrence' basis, however it may be acceptable to insure on a 'claims made' basis if it is maintained for a period following the end of the contract
  • exclusions must be agreed to by the funding department or agency
  • minimum insured amount of $5 million per claim (or $10 million in the case of insurance for a monetary aggregated amount) unless the funding department or agency determines a higher level is required.  

Further information

If you are funded via another Victorian Government department or Court Services Victoria, please contact that agency for further information on how the requirements might affect your organisation.

The below information is for organisations with a funding relationship with the Department of Justice and Community Safety.

If you have questions you can contact:

Query type Who to contact
For questions about incorporation of organisations Phone Consumer Affairs Victoria (External link) on 1300 55 81 81 
For questions about insurance for Department of Justice and Community Safety funded organisations (organisations with a funding relationship with other departments or agencies should contact the relevant department) Email (External link)
For questions about specific grant programs  Contact the contract or grant manager