Share your experiences

If you work in a Victorian prison or correctional centre currently, or if you have in the past five years, we want to hear about your experiences. Your stories about the workplace culture in the adult custodial corrections system will help shape the findings and recommendations from the Cultural Review of the Adult Custodial Corrections System.

Through the Review, we’ll be looking at a wide range of issues, including how the corrections system can support you in addressing behavioural and cultural challenges, prevention strategies that can stop these issues from arising, positive experiences at work, and initiatives to drive cultural change and safe behaviour in the custodial workplace. The Review will also look at what kind of measures are available to provide appropriate and effective cultural support for Aboriginal staff.

By sharing your experiences, you can help ensure Victoria’s prisons and correctional centres are safe, fair and inclusive workplaces, where every worker is supported to build their skills and capability.

Ways to tell your story

There are a range of safe, confidential ways for you to participate in the Review. You can:

  • make a submission
  • register your interest in a confidential interview.

Find out more about each option below.

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Make a submission

Submissions to the Review are now closed. 

Only de-identified information from submissions will be used to shape our findings and recommendations. The report will not identify anyone who makes a submission.

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Register your interest in a confidential interview

Registrations for confidential interviews are now closed. 

Each interview will take around 60 minutes and will take place over the telephone, online or in an agreed private location (subject to current COVID-19 guidelines).

The interviews will be semi-structured and conducted by a member of the Review team in a way that is informal and conversational. They will be recorded and professionally transcribed with strict confidentiality arrangements in place.

You do not have to answer all or any of the questions. They are designed to help us identify key themes and systemic issues, and to inform the development of our findings and recommendations.

We will use de-identified information gathered in the interviews to inform our report and recommendations. The report will not identify anyone who participates in an interview.

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Complete the online survey

The online survey for current custodial staff is now closed.

Results from the survey will help the Review team to understand the culture within Victoria’s prisons and correctional centres, with a focus on identifying staff experiences of safety and wellbeing, bullying, sexual harassment, discrimination, misconduct and corruption, as well as access to training and supports.

We will use de-identified information gathered in the survey to inform our findings and recommendations. All survey responses will be kept confidential, and only aggregated and de-identified information from survey responses will be used in the report. The report will not identify anyone who completes the survey.

Making a formal complaint

Sharing your experiences will play an important role in helping us understand the workplace culture within Victoria’s prisons and correctional centres. However, participating in the Review does not constitute making a formal complaint or report.

If you wish to make a formal complaint or report, visit our Help and support page for information on organisations that can hear complaints about discrimination, sexual harassment, victimisation, workplace bullying, human rights issues and criminal conduct.

Privacy and confidentiality

Your privacy is one of our key concerns. The Review team has strong experience in the sensitive, careful management of issues around racism, discrimination, sexual harassment, victimisation, workplace bullying, human rights issues and criminal conduct.

There are some instances where the law requires us to disclose information under mandatory notification and reporting requirements. This may include information where you tell us about something that could substantiate a criminal offence where the alleged perpetrator is a current employee of DJCS; where information leads us to form a reasonable belief that a sexual offence has been committed against a child under the age of 16 years in Victoria; or where there is a reasonable suspicion of public sector corruption or misconduct.

Read IBAC’s overview of public sector misconduct

If you want to participate in the Review but are worried that your story might mean that we may have to disclose your information, you can participate in the anonymous survey or submit an anonymous submission. You can also contact us to talk about what your other options to participate might be.

We will collect, store and destroy all personal information in accordance with the information privacy principles contained in the Privacy and Data Protection Act and our obligations under the Public Records Act 1973.

Common workplace issues

Some of the common issues affecting people’s health and safety at work are a lack of adequate training or supervision, lack of control, bullying, racism, discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation.

Discrimination

Discrimination occurs when a person is treated unfairly because of a personal characteristic that is protected by the law – this could include your age, race, disability, religion, sex and sexual orientation. Discrimination is against the law, whether it is direct or indirect.

  • Direct discrimination is treating or proposing to treat someone unfairly because of a protected attribute – for example, not giving someone a promotion because of their sex.
  • Indirect discrimination is when an unreasonable requirement, condition or practice – which may appear to treat people equally – disadvantages or potentially disadvantages a group of people with a protected attribute.

Aboriginal cultural safety

A culturally safe environment ensures the identity, culture and experience of Aboriginal people are respected. In a culturally safe environment, people do not experience discrimination, racism or challenges to their identity.

Integrity and misconduct

Acting with integrity means being honest, open and transparent in the way you work, using your powers responsibly and upholding public trust. Within the corrections context, key integrity or corruption risks include:

  • Excessive use of force
  • Inappropriate strip-searching practices, seclusion and behaviour management
  • Inadequate record keeping, internal investigations and reporting
  • Interference with body-worn cameras and CCTV
  • Inappropriate relationships
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Introducing contraband
  • Misuse of information.

There are many different behaviours that may be considered misconduct, including causing risks to health and safety, some criminal offences, assault, sexual harassment or behaving in a way that may damage the organisation’s reputation.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is any unwanted conduct of a sexual nature that could make someone feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. It can be physical, verbal or written (including electronic communication). Sexual harassment can be a single incident or repeated behaviour.

Victimisation

Victimisation occurs when a person punishes or threatens to punish another person because they have made a complaint about discrimination, bullying or sexual harassment, or helped someone else make a complaint. Sometimes people may be victimised if they refuse to do something because it would discriminate against, sexually harass or victimise someone else.

Bullying

Workplace bullying is repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed at someone which creates a risk to health and safety – such as verbal, physical and written abuse (including on social media). Bullying at work can amount to discrimination if it happens because of a personal attribute. For example, repeated verbal, physical or written abuse of a person because of their sex, race or religion might

constitute discrimination. Reasonable management action is not bullying – such as genuine and reasonable instructions or setting reasonable performance goals, standards and deadlines.

Virtual forums

During November, we hosted a series of virtual forums for custodial staff – an opportunity to hear directly from the Expert Panel and Review Lead about the scope of the Review and opportunities to participate. If you missed them, you can catch up online.

View a recording of the virtual forum for custodial staff