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Policies & Forms


Family Coast Support

Professionally guiding you through the NDIS maze with continuing support and services afterwards.

Our Policies:

1.0 Purpose

To provide a mechanism for participants, families, community members and Family Coast Support staff for the reporting and provides the organisations response to a suspicion or allegation of abuse, neglect or exploitation of any individual.

1.1 Background

The United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the UN Convention) states that a person with disability has the right to liberty, security and freedom from abuse and neglect, and where these rights have been violated, to have equal recognition by law and access to justice.

The Policy is consistent with the objects and principles of the Disability Inclusion Act 2014, National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013, and the requirements set out in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Incident Management and Reportable Incidents) Rules 2018.

The Policy includes principles recognising the needs of particular groups, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds and people with a permanent disability.

The Policy aims to deliver culturally sensitive information about how to safeguard people from abuse and neglect, and that supports persons with a disability.

2.0 Scope and application

The Family Coast Support Preventing and Responding to Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation Policy applies to all staff, volunteers and persons receiving a service from Family Coast Support including people under the age of 18.

The Policy has been developed to support a structured, consistent and transparent approach to safeguarding people from abuse and neglect.

The Policy provides paid and unpaid workers of Family Coast Support with the means to identify abuse and neglect, and to respond quickly and appropriately to allegations of abuse and neglect.

2.1 Types of abuse and neglect

‘Abuse and neglect’ is used throughout the Policy to describe behaviour or actions that cause harm, whether physical, emotional or financial, to a person with disability.

Abuse as it is used throughout this Policy refers to sexual assault, physical, emotional, financial and systems abuse, family violence, unauthorised use of restraints and restrictive practices, and neglect.

When abuse and neglect occur in the person’s home by other residents, professionals, paid and unpaid carers, family members and friends, it is accepted practice to define violence within any of these relationships and living situations as family violence.

3.0 Principles

Family Coast Support acknowledges that prevention is the best protection from abuse and neglect. Family Coast Support have a duty of care to implement prevention strategies and therefore Family Coast Support have suitable recruitment screening processes and protocols for identifying the risk indicators for abuse and neglect.

The priority of service provision will be the participants safety, wellbeing and protection from abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Family Coast Support supports will be based upon fundamental human rights which include the right to live a life free from abuse, neglect and exploitation. Family Coast Support shall operate from a zero-tolerance approach to abuse, neglect or exploitation of any person.

Family Coast Support shall promote an organisational culture around continuous learning and improvement, systemic review and response in relation to abuse, neglect and exploitation which encourages any person to raise matters of suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation without fear of retribution.

3.1 Person centred approaches

People with disability remain at the centre of prevention and responses to abuse and neglect. A ‘person centred approach’ involves:

  • providing positive support for people to exercise choice and control over their lives, by facilitating and maintaining relationships and connection to communities,
  • listening and learning to understand the way people communicate, including their communication preferences and wishes,
  • keeping people informed about what is going to happen before taking action and throughout any response to abuse and neglect,
  • ensuring that people with high support needs and / or communication difficulty are well supported to enable detection and prevention of abuse and neglect,
  • providing information in a format that supports the person (for example, plain English, Communication Pictographs (COMPIC), photos, picture cards, audio hearing), and as relevant, their family and friends, to identify and report abuse or neglect,
  • ensuring appropriate physical, emotional and psychological support is available to and easily accessible by a person following an allegation or report of abuse or neglect.

3.2 Identifying abuse and neglect

Paid and unpaid workers supporting people with disability need to understand the types, behaviours and actions that constitute abuse and neglect (please refer to Identifying & Responding to Abuse & Neglect Procedure).

Family Coast Support recognises that people who may demonstrate challenging behaviour and people who have difficulty communicating, can be at greater risk of abuse and neglect.

Family Coast Support takes measures to ensure people with disability, their family and carers and employees are not victimised or harassed in any way for making an allegation.

Family Coast Support will ensure that procedural fairness in decision making is fair and reasonable.

The table below provides some examples of indicators of abuse and neglect of children and adults. It is important to remember that the indicators listed below are not the only indicators and that the presence of one or more indicators does not necessarily ‘prove’ that abuse, assault or neglect has occurred. This list of possible examples should not be considered a complete list of possible indicators.

 

Physical Indicators

  • Unexplained cuts, abrasions, bruising and swelling on face, lips, mouth, torso, back, buttocks, thighs in various stages of healing.
  • Unexplained burns or scalds; cigarette burns especially on soles, palms, back or buttocks.
  • Rope burns on arms, legs, neck or torso.
  • Unexplained fractures, strains or sprains to skull, nose, facial structure.
  • Dislocation of limbs in various stages of healing.
  • Bite marks.
  • Dental injuries.
  • Ear or eye injuries.
  • Ligature marks.
  • Welts.

Behavioural Signs

  • Avoidance of a particular staff member.
  • Fearfulness or fear of a particular person.
  • Sleep disturbance.
  • Obvious changes in behaviour.
  • Changes in appetite.
  • Changes in daily routine.
  • Unusual mood swings.
  • Withdrawal.
  • Unusual passivity.
  • Out of character aggression.
  • Self-abuse.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Inappropriate or changing explanation of how an injury occurred.
  • Excessive compliance.

Physical Indicators

  • Speech Disorders.
  • In the case of a child, there may be lags in physical development or a non-organic failure to thrive.
  • Injuries sustained from self-abuse or self-destructive behaviours.
  • Suicide attempts.
  • Anxiety attacks.

Behavioural Signs

  • Self-abuse or self-destructive behaviour.
  • Challenging or extreme behaviours.
  • Excessive compliance.
  • Extreme low self esteem.
  • Depression.
  • Feelings of worthlessness.
  • Lack of interpersonal skills necessary for adequate functioning.
  • Extreme attention seeking behaviour.

Physical Indicators

  • Direct or indirect disclosure of abuse or assault.
  • Difficulty in walking or sitting.
  • Pain or itching in genital and/or anal area.
  • Vaginal or penile bruising, bleeding or discharge.
  • Self-abusive or self-destructive behaviour.
  • Attempts at suicide.
  • Torn, stained or blood-stained underwear or bedclothes .
  • Sexually transmitted disease.
  • Trauma to the breasts, buttocks, lower abdomen or thighs.
  • Unexplained accumulation of money or gifts.
  • Pregnancy.

Behavioural Signs

  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Changes to eating patterns.
  • Inappropriate or unusual sexual behaviour or knowledge.
  • Changes in social pattern.
  • Sudden or marked changes in behaviour or temperament.
  • Anxiety attacks.
  • Refusing to attend usual places e.g. work, school, respite.
  • Depression.
  • Going to bed fully clothed.
  • Excessive compliance with staff.

Physical Indicators

  • No access or unwarranted restrictions to personal funds.
  • No control over personal funds or bank accounts.
  • No records or incomplete records kept of expenditure and purchases.
  • No inventory kept of significant purchases.
  • Person controlling the finances does not have the proper legal authority.
  • Misappropriation of money, valuables or property.
  • Forced changes to wills or other legal documents.
  • Persistent failure to produce receipts.
  • Receipts indicating unusual or inappropriate purchase.

Behavioural Signs

  • Person has insufficient money to meet normal budget expenses.
  • Person is persistently denied outings and activities due to a lack of funds.

3.3 Prevention of abuse and neglect

Prevention strategies should provide for the employment of skilled staff who respect the rights of people with disability, who are aware of current policies and legislation pertaining to abuse and neglect, and who will support people and their families or guardians to access complaint mechanisms and raise any concerns they have about services.

The Disability Inclusion Act 2014 (NSW) requires Family Coast Support to perform certain checks at the recruitment stage when employing or appointing a person to work with people with disabilities. These include the:

  • National Criminal History Record Check for “relevant workers” employed by Family Coast Support to provide disability supports and services directly to people with disability in a way that involves face to face or physical contact.
  • Working with Children Check for any paid and unpaid workers in any roles working with or in the vicinity of children or young people, (anyone aged under 18 years of age) in accordance with the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 (the Act) and the Child Protection (Working with Children) Regulation 2013.

3.4 Identifying & Reporting abuse and neglect

Procedures for reporting abuse and neglect, or suspected abuse or neglect, and the responsibilities of all parties, are clearly articulated in this policy.

All paid and unpaid workers are aware of their duty of care to report allegations of abuse in accordance with the service provider’s documented procedures.

Family Coast Support promotes a positive complaints culture that welcomes feedback, and responds promptly to concerns from people, families, friends and carers.

The culture of the Family Coast Support encourages and supports any person who has witnessed abuse or neglect of a person or persons, or suspects that abuse or neglect has occurred.

Barriers to the disclosure of abuse and neglect are identified and removed, and people who report abuse or neglect are free from retribution. It is an offence to disadvantage a person who reports an incident of abuse and neglect or complains about the provision of services.

A person who, in the course of his/her employment delivers health care, welfare, education, children’s services, residential services, or law enforcement, wholly or partly to children and a person who holds a management position in an organisation of which include direct responsibility for similar services are given mandatory reporting rights under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW).

Mandatory reporters in NSW should use the Mandatory Reporter Guide (MRG) if they have concerns that a child or young person is at risk of being neglected or physically, sexually or emotionally abused. The MRG along with eReporting prompts can be found at https://reporter.childstory.nsw.gov.au/s/.

More information about Mandatory Reporting can be found at http://www.community.nsw.gov.au/preventing-child-abuse-and-neglect.

3.5 Responding to a report of abuse or neglect

Response is prompt, appropriate and in accordance with clearly documented procedures.

Where necessary the response includes a report to the NSW Police, and the provision of medical care, including transfer to hospital by an ambulance, and referral to a Sexual Assault Service, if the assault is of a sexual nature.

When the victim is unable to give consent, the family, guardian or other support person is notified of the incident as soon as possible.

If it is appropriate and the victim has given consent, the family, guardian or other support person is informed of the allegation of abuse or neglect as soon as possible after the report is made.

The safety of alleged victims is maintained throughout the investigation. All parties are encouraged and assisted to access appropriate supports following an allegation of abuse or neglect.

3.6 Responding to abuse and neglect of a person with disability by a member of staff or by another person with disability

All incidents and allegations of abuse and neglect are documented and reported to the Operations Manager and are required to be in writing. Please refer to our Preventing & Responding to Abuse & Neglect Procedure.

All reasonable steps are taken to ensure that all people are protected from further harm.

The rights of the alleged offender and responsibilities of the employer are adhered to in accordance with the appropriate legislation.

3.7 Privacy and confidentiality

Access to records is restricted to those who are directly involved in reporting and responding to the incident or allegation to ensure that a person’s right to privacy is upheld.

A designated person is appointed to be the sole contact for the person, family, guardian or other support person, when providing information about the incident or allegation and subsequent investigations.

4.0 Patterns of abuse & neglect

A pattern of abuse and neglect occurs where there is repeated physical abuse or ill treatment and/or harassment of a person with disability by another person. For example:

Long-term abuse

Abuse that occurs over a period of time - for example, in the context of family or another ongoing living arrangement.

Serial abuse

Perpetrator seeks out vulnerable individuals and abuses several persons according to a pattern.  Sexual abuse usually falls into this pattern, as do some forms of financial abuse.

Opportunistic or Situational abuse

Where a person takes advantage of an opportunity or exploiting opportunities and situations in general, especially in a devious or unprincipled way - for example, because a person has access to another person’s bank account, and they take their money.

Neglect

A person’s needs are neglected because those around him or her are unable to provide care or there is a lack of services or inappropriate services. This includes failure to provide access to key services such as health care, dentistry or prosthesis - for example, a staff member does not respond to a person communicating they are not feeling well and need to see a doctor.

Institutional abuse

The features are poor care standards, lack of positive responses to complex needs, rigid routines, inadequate staffing, and insufficient knowledge within the service(s) - for example, not rostering enough staff on shift to meet the needs of the people requiring support.

Unacceptable ‘treatments’ or programs

Punishment such as the withholding of food and drink, seclusion, unnecessary or unauthorised use of control or restraint or over-medication, or the unlawful administration of prescribed medications are unacceptable treatments - for example, giving a person more medication then they have been prescribed.

Failure of agencies

Agencies are responsible for ensuring that staff receive appropriate guidance on anti-discrimination practice and cultural sensitivity - for example, not providing staff with training on anti-discrimination and / or cultural sensitivity.

Misappropriation

Use of the person’s money by others, fraud, or intimidation - for example, staff using a person’s money to buy something for themselves.

5.0 Incidents of abuse and neglect reportable to the NDIS Commission

Reportable Incidents

Family Coast Support will notify the NDIS Commission about reportable incidents. For an incident to become reportable it must satisfy;

  • The incident must be defined as reportable in Section 73Z(4) of the Act and Section 16 of the NDIS (Incident Management and Reportable Incidents) Rules 2018.
  • The incident must have occurred in connection with the provision of supports or services Family Coast Support provide.

Subsection 73Z(4) of the NDIS Act states that reportable incident means:

  • The death of a person with a disability
  • Serious injury of a person with a disability
  • Abuse or neglect of a person with a disability
  • Unlawful sexual or physical contact with, or assault of, a person with a disability; or
  • Sexual misconduct committed against, or in the presence of, a person with disability, including grooming of the person for sexual activity; or
  • The use of restrictive practice in relation to a person with a disability, other than where the use is in accordance with an authorisation of a state or territory in relation to the person.

This list must be read with Section 16 of the Rules which says that:

  • Unlawful physical contact with a person with a disability is not reportable incident if the contact with, and impact on, the person with a disability is negligible,
  • The use of restrictive practice in relation to a person with a disability where the use is not in accordance with authorisation of a State or Territory is not a reportable incident if the use is in accordance with a behaviour support plan for the person and the State or Territory in which the practice is used does not have an authorisation process in relation to the practice, and 
  • The use of a restrictive practice in relation to a person with a disability where the use is in accordance with an authorisation of a State or Territory is a reportable incident if the use is not in accordance with a behaviour support plan for the person.

The definition of a reportable incident captures not only incidents that have occurred, but also allegations of the incidents above. It also only includes incidents where the impacted person is a person with a disability.

The Operations Manager will inform the NDIS Commission of all reportable incidents except for unauthorised use of restrictive practice within 24 hours. Any unauthorised use of restrictive practices will be notified to the NDIS Commission within 5 days.

6.0 Incidents of abuse and neglect reportable to the NSW Ombudsman

Reportable incidents of abuse and neglect in disability accommodation, flexible or centre based respite, or any service that provides direct care to people must be reported to the NSW Ombudsman under the Disability Inclusion Act 2014 (NSW).

Under Part 3C Protection of People with Disability of the Ombudsman Act 1974 (NSW) all incidents of abuse or neglect of people with disability, living in supported group accommodations (including centre-based respite) that are operated or funded by FACS under Part 5 of the Act, are reported to the NSW Ombudsman.

Each service has a responsibility to report incidents to the NSW Ombudsman. The disability reportable incidents scheme is allegations-based which means that it is the nature of the alleged conduct (and not the finding of any inquiries) that will decide whether or not an incident is notifiable.

There are four categories of ‘reportable incidents’ reported to the NSW Ombudsman. These include any of the following involving a person with disability living in supported group accommodation:

  1. employee to client incidents,
  2. client to client incidents,
  3. contravention of an apprehended violence order taken out to protect the person with disability, or 
  4. unexplained serious injury to a person with disability.

The Family Coast Support support staff are required to provide the Operations Manager with all documentation relevant to a reportable incident and the people with disability involved within five business days of the incidents occurring.

The Operations Manager or delegate retains responsibility for staff to client incidents and will coordinate the processes to be followed when dealing with allegations of staff misconduct.

*****   For a description of the four categories, please refer to the NSW Ombudsman Guide for Services: Reportable incidents in disability supported group accommodation in ‘Other resources’ .

7.0 Critical incidents involving children and young people reportable to the Children’s Guardian

Under Schedule 3 of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Regulation 2012 (NSW), all designated agencies accredited to arrange for the provision of statutory out-of-home care in NSW, are required to notify the Children’s Guardian, in writing, of any allegation of sexual misconduct or serious physical assault towards a child or young person in out-of-home care, committed by a child-related worker.

The term sexual misconduct includes sexual offences. These offences include:

  • Indecent assault.
  • Sexual assault.
  • Aggravated sexual assault.
  • Sexual intercourse and attempted sexual intercourse.
  • Possession / dissemination / production of child pornography or child abuse material.
  • Using children to produce pornography.
  • Grooming or procuring children under the age of 16 years for unlawful sexual activity.
  • Deemed non-consensual sexual activity on the basis of special care relationships.

There are three categories of sexual misconduct in addition to the sexual offences listed above. These include:

  • Crossing professional boundaries.
  • Sexually explicit comments and other overtly sexual behaviour.
  • Grooming behaviour.

A physical assault is considered serious where:

  • It results in the child being injured, beyond a type of injury like a minor scratch, bruise or graze.
  • It had the potential to result in a serious injury.
  • The injury suffered may be minor, but the assault is associated with aggravating circumstances.

The Office of the Children’s Guardian has developed resources for employers to assist in understanding what the above constitutes. Information for reporting bodies – reporting certain misconduct involving children is a useful resource for all designated agencies and is published on the Office of the Children’s Guardian website .

The Office of the Children’s Guardian will maintain a record of these allegations. This information will be taken into account as part of ongoing assessments of a designated agency as part of continued accreditation to arrange for the provision of statutory out-of-home care in NSW.

The requirement to notify allegations of sexual misconduct does not preclude an agency from their responsibility to report to The Office of the Children’s Guardian, following an investigation, of any finding that sexual misconduct or serious physical assault occurred.

A form is available for these notifications and is located at the link http://www.kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au/out-of-home-care/statutory-out-of-home-care/fact-sheets and in the Abuse and Neglect ‘Other resources’.

Purpose

To ensure that Family Coast Support is aware of all forms of independent advocacy and respond effectively to the involvement of advocates on behalf of service users.

What is an Advocate?

An advocate is a person who, with the authority of the Participant, represents the Participant’s interests.
Participants may use an advocate of their choice to negotiate on their behalf. This may be a family member, friend or advocacy from FCS.

Advocates will be accepted by Family Coast Support as representing the interests of the Participant.

Advocates may be used during assessments, reviews, and complaints or for any other communication between the Participant and FCS. Please see the ‘Guidelines for Advocates’ below.

Procedure for Appointing an Advocate

Participants wishing to use an advocate should inform Family Coast Support in writing using the 'Authority to Act as an Advocate' form included in the intake pack, which states the name and contact details of the person they wish to negotiate on their behalf. The Participant has the right to change their advocate at any time and should inform Family Coast Support in writing of any change.

Staff will make sure Participants are aware of their right to use an advocate and should regularly remind Participants of this option. This information is available in the Participant’s intake pack and should be explained at intake and individual plan reviews.

Family Coast Support will identify Participants who do not have personal networks and who need assistance to speak up and make decisions to assist in meeting their needs.

Family Coast Support will ask the Participant’s permission and will seek the involvement of independent advocacy on their behalf. Should the Participant not wish for Family Coast Support to seek out advocacy services on their behalf, information regarding advocacy supports and contact numbers will be provided and are included under contacts for independent advocates within this policy.

Guidelines for Advocates - Being an Advocate

If a Participant of Family Coast Support has asked you to be their advocate, this means they would like you to act on their behalf in their dealings with the service and support. You may be a family member or friend of the Participant or a member of an advocacy service.

Being an advocate may mean your attendance or involvement will be required during assessments and reviews of the Participants community participation or the support received or the Participant wishes to communicate or negotiate anything with Family Coast Support or lodge a complaint about Family Coast Support.

Participants are free to change their advocates whenever they wish, however, we request a new Authority Form be completed each time so that Family Coast Support staff are always clear on who the Participant’s advocate is.

As an Advocate of a Participant we ask you to be aware of the following and ensure that:

  • The Participant has given their authority for you to act as their advocate.
  • The NDIS is aware that you are acting as the Participant’s advocate.
  • You always act in the best interests of the Participant.
  • The Participant is aware of any issues and developments in relation to the supports they receive and which you, as their advocate, may be involved in.
  • The Participant is kept informed of any developments.
  • You be familiar with the contents of the Participant Intake Pack and the details of the Participant’s Support Plan.
  • You encourage the Participant to provide feedback to you about the supports they are receiving.

Contacts for Independent Advocates

Disability Advocacy NSW Inc.
4927 0111
Free call 1300 365 085

Intellectual Disability Rights Service
9318 0144
Free call 1800 666 611

Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association of NSW
9891 6400
Free call 1800 629 072

People with a Disability Australia
9370 3100

Disability DA Advocacy
1300 365 085

Connectability Central Coast
4962 1000

NSW Ombudsman
9286 1000

 

Purposes

A purpose of this policy is to ensure that Family Coast Support provides participants and their advocates and representatives with an open and transparent process so that anyone may express their concerns or make a formal complaint as issues arise.

Another purpose of this policy is to establish a complaint handling process that actively protects the right of complainants and their representatives to lodge complaints without fear of retribution and assists staff in the way that concerns are managed and complaints are handled by all staff so that resolution may be identified as soon as possible.

Scope

Family Coast Support managers, staff, volunteers, participants, their families, carers, advocates, friends shall promote clear and honest communication with all stakeholders at all times.

Family Coast Support recognises the need to adopt procedures that will enable participants and others to present any complaint with confidence that it will be dealt with fairly and without fear of retribution.

Family Coast Support shall ensure that any concerns or formal complaints raised by clients or other stakeholders are handled impartially and equitably and if a conflict of interest exists then the person to step aside from the resolution process.

This policy does not cover any grievances or disputes Family Coast Support employees may have with Family Coast Support. This information can be accessed via the Family Coast Support HR Grievance Procedure.

Definition

A commonly used definition of a complaint is "any expression of dissatisfaction, either written or verbal, made by or on behalf of a service user".

Policy

This policy has been developed in line with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Complaints Management and Resolution) Rules 2018.

Family Coast Support welcomes complaints from any individual in relation to its services. Managers and staff will provide the appropriate support and a safe environment for participants to make a complaint. Family Coast Support is committed to the efficient and fair resolution of complaints. Complaints are to be encouraged and seen by everyone in the organisation as an opportunity to improve services.

All participants have the right to have their issues resolved in a timely manner that does not discriminate or affect their service in any way. The individual may choose any staff member they prefer to deal with their complaint and can nominate an advocate if they choose to do so.

Individuals who wish to make a complaint as well as each person with a disability who are affected by an issue raised in a complaint are able to lodge a complaint directly with the NDIS Commission and will be supported and assisted to do so.

The privacy of the person raising the complaint shall be respected at all times. All complaints will be dealt with the appropriate sensitivity. In addition, details about complaints will only be shared on a need-to-know basis both within the organisation and externally.

All complaints of a serious or criminal nature will be referred to the relevant authorities including the NDIS Commission and police.

If a complaint is received that alleges criminal activity or provides information about possible criminal activity it must be referred to the Operations Manager immediately (if possible). The Operations Manager will contact the police or other relevant authorities.

Complaint Principles

  • Family Coast Support will provide appropriate support and a safe environment to make a complaint.
  • Family Coast Support will follow a fair and equitable process and ensure there are no negative repercussions and no change to your support service if you make a complaint.
  • During the process Family Coast Support will protect your privacy.
  • Family Coast Support will support you to be a part of the resolution process, with a support person or advocate of your choice.
  • Family Coast Support will keep you informed of the progress of the complaint, action taken, reasons for decisions and options for review.
  • Family Coast Support will support and assist you to lodge a complaint directly with the NDIS Commission.
  • Family Coast Support will comply with any request, direction and investigation processes made by the NDIS Commission, following an individuals complaint.
  • Family Coast Support will acknowledge your complaint within 48 hrs and try to have your complaint resolved within 14 days. (Note: Sometimes a complaint may take longer to resolve, but regular communication will occur during the process.)

Complaints Relating to Abuse and Neglect

Family Coast Support takes reports of abuse and neglect very seriously. It is mandatory for any report of abuse or neglect reported to Family Coast Support by staff, participants, families, carers, other stakeholders, or members of the public to be reported by Family Coast Support to the NDIS Commission ( in line with the NDIS Incident Management and Reportable Incident Rules 2018), the Police, and to any relevant external agency.

Any reports of abuse or neglect reported are to be immediately forwarded to the Operations Manager. The Operations Manager will then report the matter directly to the NDIS Commission, Police, ADHC or the NSW Ombudsman’s Office. This will be the responsibility of most senior staff member available (i.e. Coordinator, Operations Manager).

Advocacy and support for people using this service

Individuals utilising the service provided by Family Coast Support have different types of support networks. Some people have families who are closely involved in their lives or may be reliant on legally appointed guardians to make particular decisions for them.

Other people are represented by advocacy services and for some Participants these advocates are their only support network. Should a Participant or their family / carer require support with this process Family Coast Support will assist them with the process.

Equity and Access considerations for people using this service

Employees, volunteers, and students are to ensure that services are provided with sensitivity to, and awareness of, people with culturally diverse or indigenous backgrounds, and cultural practices. This is to be carried out without deviating from Family Coast Support Complaints Management policy and procedure or legislative responsibilities. Information provided to a person, their family / carer, person responsible, or other support person about legal rights, options, and support services must be provided in a format that suits their individual communication needs.

Participant (Family, Advocate, others) Responsibilities

Family Coast Support actively encourage everyone using the support services to question or comment on the quality and nature of the services they receive.

The complaint can be made personally or someone can speak on the participants behalf. In addition, feedback and complaints can be made verbally or in writing. (Note: All complaints received verbally are to be put in writing and submitted to the Coordinator / Operations Manager.) Individuals also have the right to make an anonymous complaint.

Participants can talk about their concern or raise a complaint:

  • to any worker at the service that they trust who will then support them to make complaint to the Coordinator, either verbally or written, or
  • to a family, friend, or advocate to support them to make their complaint to the Coordinator or Operations Manager.

If a person is not satisfied with the outcome of a complaint, if it remains unresolved, or at any time during the process the person may contact any of the following external authorities. Please refer to Section 10: External complaints bodies.

Individuals can also lodge a complaint directly with the NDIS Commission and will be offered advise and assistance to do this.

Withdrawal of complaints

Individuals may withdraw complaints at anytime by advising the Family Coast Support Operations Manager, verbally or in writing or by any means which is appropriate to the circumstance.

The Operations Manager will acknowledge, in writing, receipt of the withdrawal of the complaint.

The Operations Manager will decide whether to continue to deal with the complaint based on:

  • the wishes of the person or persons with a disability affected by an issue raised in the complaint,
  • the health, safety, and welfare of any person with a disability affected by an issue in the complaint, and
  • whether the complaint may have been withdrawn on the basis of victimisation, coercion, or duress.

Family Coast Support Operations Manager Responsibilities

The Operations Manager will:

  • Resolve the complaint in a timely manner, acknowledge the complaint within 48 hours of receipt, and seek to have the complaint resolved within 14 days.
  • Investigate the complaint and provide information to the service user about how the complaint is progressing and offer the participant any additional supports such as advocacy support.
  • Provide the participant with the opportunity to be involved in the resolution process.
  • Provide the participant (and any advocates involved) with information and support to lodge the complaint with the NDIS Commission.
  • Maintain a record of the complaint and the action that is taken to resolve the complaint at all stage of the resolution process. **** Forward the complaint to the Operations Manager for monitoring of the complaint.
  • Update the Complaints & Feedback Register, inserting details of the complaint, responses, findings, and outcomes.

Information & Awareness

Family Coast Support will provide information to participants about procedures, about complaints, and about disputes through posters, pamphlets, and verbal information. If requested, Family Coast Support will provide the complaints policy or any other documentation in a format that is easily understood or in an appropriate language.

Family Coast Support will obtain feedback about the effectiveness of its complaint management process from stakeholders at least annually. This may include obtaining feedback on the Complaint & Feedback Policy and related procedures.

Family Coast Support will provide adequate training and resources to ensure that all staff are aware of the Complaints and Feedback Policy and will actively encourage participants and families to comment on the quality and nature of the services they receive.

Family Coast Support will review the complaints register bi-annually to identify or address issues raised through the complaints and resolution process, gather statistical and other information relating to potential patterns raised to ensure ongoing quality management.

Record Keeping

Family Coast Support will maintain appropriate records of complaints received including the following, where appropriate:

  • Information about complaints.
  • Any action taken to resolve complaints.
  • The outcome of any action taken.

Records relating to complaints will be kept for 7 years from the day the record is made. (Refer to Family Coast Support Records Management Policy and Procedure).

External Complaints Bodies

Individual or parties with a complaint may make contact with the following bodies should the complaints remain unresolved, or at any time in the complaints process. These may include:

NDIS Commission
1800 035 544

NSW Ombudsman
Free call (outside Sydney metro area): 1800 451 8050
TTY: (02) 9264 8050
Email:nswombo@ombo.nsw.gov.au
Website: www.ombo.nsw.gov.au

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (CTH)
Phone: (02) 9284 9600
Complaints Infoline: 1300 656 419 / Privacy Hotline: 1300 363 992
TTY: 1800 620 241
Website: www.hreoc.gov.au

National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline
A hotline for reporting or complaining about the abuse or neglect of a person with a disability at home, in the community, or in any other location. The hotline will refer a complainant to a relevant state or local agency where necessary.
Free call: 1800 880 052 / TTY: 1800 301 130
National relay service: 1800 555 677
Fax: 02 9318 1372
Website: www.disabilityhotline.org

National Disability Complaints Resolution and Referral Service (CRRS)
For people with a disability who wish to make a complaint about their rights being infringed in a disability employment service or by a disability advocacy service.
Free call: 1800 880 052 / TTY: 1800 301 130 (free call)
National relay service: 1800 555 677
Fax: 02 9318 1372
Website: www.crrs.org.au

Intellectual Disability Rights Service (IDRS)
A community legal centre specialising in legal and rights issues for people with a disability.
2C/199 Regent St REDFERN NSW 2016
Phone: (02) 9318 0144 / Freecall: 1800 666 611
Fax: (02) 9318 2887
Website: www.idrs.org.au

People with Disability Incorporated
For people with a disability who wish to make a complaint about their rights being infringed.
Phone: (02) 9370 3100 / Freecall: 1800 422 015
TTY: (02) 9318 2138 / TTY: 1800 422 016 freecall
Fax: (02) 9318 1372
Website: www.pwd.org.au
Email: pwd@pwd.org.au

Disability Advocacy NSW
Newcastle
Phone and TTY: 1300 365 085 or (02) 4927 0111
Fax: (02) 4927 0114
Email: newcastle@da.org.au

Purpose

The purpose of the Family Coast Support Incident management system is to identify, record, and manage incidents that occur while providing services to people with a disability.

Family Coast Support acknowledge that the service has responsibility for preventing, responding to, and managing incidents in accordance with the National Disability Act 2013 and National Disability Insurance Scheme (Incident Management and Reportable Incidents) Rules 2018.

Family Coast Support is committed to the accurate and responsible reporting of all incidents occurring on Family Coast Support programs and service delivery. Family Coast Support requires all critical incidents to be recorded and reported to the Operations Manager.

Family Coast Support recognise the impact that incidents can have on clients, staff, volunteers, and the community. This policy aims to minimise that impact and to ensure that all staff, paid and unpaid, understand what constitutes an incident and the actions to be taken when a critical incident occurs and during the period following an incident.

Scope

This policy relates to the provision of all services by Family Coast Support. All staff and contractors employed or engaged by Family Coast Support are expected to comply with this policy. This relates to all incidents involving participants of Family Coast Support.

Obligations

Any staff member or volunteer involved in, witnessing, or becoming aware of an incident must promptly report the incident regardless of the level of its severity utilising the Family Coast Support Incident Report Form. Please refer to the Incident Reporting Procedure for details and lodgement.

The Operations Manager or their delegate is responsible for determining the category of the incident having regard to the type of incident, level of seriousness, and the need for reporting to a regulatory body or bodies such as the NDIS Commission via a Critical Incident Report, and alleged criminal acts to the police.

What is an Incident?

The Family Coast Support Incident management system covers:

  • Acts, omissions, events, and circumstances that occur in connection with providing supports and services to people with a disability that have or could have caused harm to a person with a disability,
  • acts by a person with a disability that occur in connection with provision of supports or services that have caused serious harm, or a risk of serious harm to another person, or
  • reportable incidents that have or are alleged to have occurred in connection with provision of supports or services to a person with a disability.

Definitions:

Incidents that occur in connection with providing NDIS supports or services to a person with a disability and which have, or could have, caused harm to the person with a disability.

The Family Coast Support incident management system aims to capture any acts, omissions, and events that occur or particular circumstances that arise in connection with the provision of NDIS supports or services to a person with a disability if they have or could have caused harm to the person with a disability.

The subject of the allegation for these incidents may be anyone (for example, a worker or a member of the public) as long as the incident occurred in connection with the provision of NDIS supports and services to the impacted person with a disability.

‘in connection with’

Family Coast Support is only required to notify the Commission of reportable incidents which have occurred or are alleged to have occurred if those incidents happened in connection with the provision of supports or services by NDIS.

‘In connection with’ covers incidents that:

  • may have occurred during the course of supports or services being provided,
  • arise out of the provision, alteration, or withdrawal of supports and services, and / or
  • may not have occurred during the provision of supports but are connected because they arose out of the provision of supports or services.

The Family Coast Support Operations Manager will be informed of every incident and allegation and come to a conclusion about whether the service delivery caused the reportable incident before deciding whether to notify the Commission.

acts by a person with a disability that occur in connection with providing NDIS supports or services to the person with a disability and which have caused serious harm, or a risk of serious harm, to another person.

Serious harm means that the harm is not minor or trivial. It involves substantial physical, emotional or psychological impact on the impacted person such as a serious injury, or serious emotional or psychological distress.

Incidents that result in injuries to workers that do not consist on the act of a person with a disability in connection with the provision of supports to the person with a disability, do not need to be recorded in the incident management system.

Reportable Incidents

Family Coast Support will notify the NDIS Commission about reportable incidents. For an incident to become reportable Family Coast Support must be satisfied that:

  • The incident must be defined as reportable in Section 73Z(4) of the Act and Section 16 of the NDIS (Incident Management and Reportable Incidents) Rules 2018.
  • The incident must have occurred in connection with the provision of supports or services Family Coast Support provide.

Subsection 73Z(4) of the NDIS Act states that reportable incident means:

  • the death of a person with a disability,
  • the serious injury of a person with a disability,
  • abuse or neglect of a person with a disability,
  • unlawful sexual or physical contact with, or assault of, a person with a disability,
  • sexual misconduct committed against, or in the presence of, a person with disability, including grooming of the person for sexual activity, and / or
  • the use of restrictive practice in relation to a person with a disability, other than where the use is in accordance with an authorisation of a state or territory in relation to the person.

This list must be read with Section 16 of the Rules which says that:

  • unlawful physical contact with a person with a disability is not reportable incident if the contact with, and impact on, the person with a disability is negligible, 
  • the use of restrictive practice in relation to a person with a disability where the use is not in accordance with authorisation of a State or Territory is not a reportable incident if the use is in accordance with a behaviour support plan for the person and the State or Territory in which the practice is used does not have an authorisation process in relation to the practice, and
  • the use of a restrictive practice in relation to a person with a disability where the use is in accordance with an authorisation of a State or Territory is a reportable incident if the use is not in accordance with a behaviour support plan for the person.

The definition of a reportable incident captures not only incidents that have occurred, but also allegations of the incidents above. It also only includes incidents where the impacted person is a person with a disability.

Please refer to the Incident Reporting Procedure for Definition of Incidents.

Relevant Legislation

National Disability Insurance Scheme Act (2013)
NDIS (Incident Management and Reportable Incidents) Rules 2018

The Family Coast Support Incident Reporting Procedure should be read in conjunction with the above, and outlines the processes for reporting.

Family Coast Support will ensure that participants are practically able to exercise their rights and to carry out their responsibilities to the maximum extent possible.  Family Coast Support has an obligation to provide all relevant information in an 'Easy Read' or other format suitable for the skills and capacity of each participant.

Scope

Service users, their families, staff and management of Family Coast Support

Participants’ Rights

Each participant has a right to:

  • Respect for their individual human worth, dignity and privacy.
  • Participate fully in the life of society.
  • Be informed about available services and how to participate in and contribute to decision-making.
  • Have services match their ongoing needs and goals.
  • Have services provided by appropriately qualified workers
  • Be consulted about their needs and preferences.
  • Choose from available alternatives wherever practical.
  • Involve an advocate of their choice.
  • Have control over their own lives and have a say in the services that affect them including participating in decisions concerning the type of assistance provided and the way it is provided.
  • Appropriate assistance which is flexible in response to their changing needs and priorities.
  • Access to quality services irrespective of sex, race, ethnicity, culture, language, religion, marital status, disability, sexuality or age.
  • Expect assistance that is reliable, of high quality, and is culturally and linguistically relevant.
  • Privacy and confidentiality (except where there are compelling and important ethical, moral, or legal reasons for sharing information).
  • See any information about themselves held by Family Coast Support in their files (and to correct any incorrect information).
  • Express issues or complaints and seek redress without fear of it affecting decisions relating to the service they receive.
  • Have complaints about service delivery heard and dealt with in a fair and objective manner.
    Refuse a service (and if so know that such a refusal should not prejudice their future access to services).
  • Make a complaint in which the participant feels safe to do so.

Responsibilities

Participants who use Family Coast Support services have a responsibility to:

  • Respect all other individuals in Family Coast Support.
  • Respect the rights of others including their rights to confidentiality and privacy.
  • Inform workers of support needs.
  • Act in a way which respects the rights of other participants and workers.
  • Take responsibility for the results of their own actions and decisions.
  • Participate in finding a fair resolution of any complaints.

Family rights and responsibilities

Family Coast Support recognises that families have a particular standing in the lives of participants and, so far as possible, share in all those rights and responsibilities of their family member.

Family rights

In particular, while absolutely respecting a participant’s rights to decide who should participate in planning and decision-making processes about their lives, Family Coast Support recognises that families also have a right to:

  • Be treated courteously and respectfully.
  • Be informed by Family Coast Support of all significant matters affecting their family member.
  • Have their concerns and ideas treated with respect and taken seriously.
  • As far as possible and as far as is acceptable to the participant, work with Family Coast Support in making decisions about the services and methods of providing those services to their family member.
  • See any information about their family member held by Family Coast Support in their files (and to correct any incorrect information).
  • Express grievances and seek redress without fear of it affecting decisions relating to the assistance they or their family member receive.
  • Have grievances heard and dealt with in a fair and objective manner.
  • Refuse a service on behalf of their family member (and if so know that such a refusal should not prejudice their future access to services).

Family responsibilities

Families have a responsibility to:

  • Work co-operatively and reasonably in all respects with Family Coast Support in order to jointly ensure that their family member receives the most appropriate services and care.
  • Pay all reasonable fees and charges subject to an over-riding ability to pay provision.

Staff rights and responsibilities

Staff Rights

Staff have the right to:

  • Equal employment opportunity in all matters relating to employment, i.e., no discrimination on the grounds of sex, ethnicity, marital status, disability, sexuality, religion, or age. The only acceptable grounds for choosing between staff for any given opportunity are attitude, ability, experience, and qualifications.
  • Award conditions and rates of pay other than for senior non-award positions.
  • Join and participate in a union.
  • Participate or be consulted in decision making which affects them.
  • Information regarding decisions affecting them.
  • See their personnel records or any other written reports concerning them.
  • Have personal information kept confidential.
  • Work in an environment free from harassment including sexual harassment.
  • A safe and healthy work environment.
  • Access to training and development to extend their knowledge and skills and enhance career opportunities.

Staff Responsibilities

Staff have a responsibility to:

  • Understand Family Coast Support and its mission.
  • Support the aims and philosophy of Family Coast Support.
  • Follow Family Coast Support policies and practices or such other documents as may reasonably be developed.
  • Represent the organisation in a positive way to participants, families, other organisations, and the general community.
  • Report any concerns regarding occupational health and safety issues.
  • Participate in the evaluation of their performance and service practices.
  • Respect as individuals everyone involved in the service including:
    • Never abusing, physically or verbally, participants, workers or other members of the organisation.
    • Not consume alcohol or illegal substances whilst at work.
    • Not sexually harass any other worker or participant.
  • Respect the rights of others including their rights to confidentiality and privacy.
  • Work with participants in a manner that recognises their dignity and rights as individuals.
  • Exercise their duty of care for participants.
  • Respect the rights of participants to determine their own goals.
  • Provide participants with accurate information about the services available to them and not knowingly withhold such information.
  • Inform participants of the service options available.
  • Involve participants in decision making about services.
  • Inform participants of the standards they can expect in the provision of the service.
  • Inform participants of their rights and the implications of services available to them.
  • Not be necessarily intrusive or confrontational, but rather treat each participant with respect, offer guidance, and be considerate of their time and commitments.
  • Ensure all participant contact is supportive and progressive.
  • Respect absolutely the confidentiality of information obtained in the course of advice or service.
  • Not disclose any information concerning participants of the service without their permission, except where the worker has a duty of care to do so.
  • Deal with complaints and issues fairly and promptly without retribution.
  • Maintain appropriate and professional participant-worker boundaries, including:
    • Never using participant contact to meet their own needs.
    • Not accepting gifts from participants.
    • Not giving personal gifts to participants.
    • Not giving the home 'phone number or address of any participant or worker to others.
    • Not having sexual relationships with participants.
    • Not undertaking assessments of personal friends or relatives (these should be referred to another staff member).
  • Maintain appropriate and professional personal-organisational boundaries including:
    • Not using vehicles for personal use unless specifically approved by the CEO.
    • Not removing property or funds from the organisation without proper permission.
    • Not using organisation resources for private business.
  • To always act in the best interests of vulnerable participants in relation to their finances and other property.
  • To declare any conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest regarding financial involvement with participants.
  • Maintain their professional skills.

Related Documents:
Public Relations Code of Conduct

Person-centred

Person-centred thinking involves listening to people and helping them to think about what they want from their lives now and into the future. This approach involves consideration of a person’s whole life and thinking creatively to figure out how to support aspirations and goals as well as discussing risks and responsibilities with the person and their family.

Active Support

Active support empowers people with a disability to be engaged in all choices, decisions, goals, activities, and relationships in their own lives. Staff play an important role in supporting learning and assisting clients to realise their own goals and actively participate in their own lives.

The aim of active support is to walk alongside a person i.e. do things with them, not only for them. We recognise every individual moment has potential and progress is about taking one step at a time with the person contributing their skills and abilities to each situation. We provide enough assistance to enable every person to be successful regardless of the degree of their disability.

By focussing on enhancing choice and encouraging engagement, each client has confidence and independence, while taking control of their own lives. People start choosing relationships they want to build on, places they like to go to, places where their skills are appreciated and needed, and build their feeling of belonging in the community.

We are patient in supporting people to grow in their abilities and self- confidence at their own pace. We support people to find balance between what is important to them and the support they want and need.

All staff are expected to respect, support and implement a person- centred active support approach with all clients.

What does Active Support look like?

  • Activities are meaningful to the participant.
  • Participants will be fully involved in decision making regarding supports they require, activities they wish to engage in, and goals they wish to work towards.
  • All participants are included regardless of their support needs.
  • Staff are engaged and active i.e. participate in activities with participants and encourage participants to involve themselves.
  • Meaningful engagement - staff make efforts to build good relationships with participants where they develop understanding of the participants likes, needs, and goals etc.
  • Staff will develop an individual personal plan with all participants on entry into Family Coast Support to support the process of getting to know one another, and ensure that participants and their families direct what their program will look like.
  • Staff are conscious of supporting participants to develop their self-esteem, confidence and skill or independence levels, and creatively drive this through ongoing encouragement, assistance, and purposeful activities.
  • There is a commitment to make active care happen as an individual and a team.
  • Family Coast Support takes a flexible approach to service delivery and cater to the needs of each individual - for example, activities or programs can be adapted to suit the needs of each participant.
  • Participants will meet and be matched with a support worker to ensure a ‘good fit’ and participants will decide if the support worker is appropriate.
  • Participants will be provided opportunity to give feedback on staff, support, and service levels.

Choice, Risk and Duty of Care

In line with the above and all Participants being offered freedom of choice in determining their activities, all reasonable steps are taken to maintain their safety. This is to be achieved by providing a safe environment in accordance with relevant legislation and duty of care is observed at all times.

Inherent in the freedom of choice is the right to fail, make mistakes, and experience disappointments. Family Coast Support recognises this and is aware that by encouraging people to exercise their rights in decision making that there may be instances where the decision taken and enacted upon by the participant may not be seen by Family Coast Support to be the most appropriate nor the most advantageous for that particular person.

Should such an incident occur the Participant has the absolute right to exercise their choice. Family Coast Support however has a responsibility to ensure that the Participant understands their concerns about that choice so that the Participant has further information available to them about the risks and consequences of that choice.

Should a Participant act against the advice given by an employee of Family Coast Support and therefore place himself / herself or others at risk then the relevant family members and authorities must be notified immediately. The Operations Manager is to be notified and all events documented and placed on the participant’s file.

In the event of a Participant making an individual choice, contrary to medical advice, the following procedure is to be adhered to:

  • The community support worker is to ensure the Participant is aware of the choices of their action at the time of the event.
  • The community support worker is to obtain permission from the Participant to enlist support from other relevant agencies to further highlight risks associated with certain choices such as support from a treating doctor, health related services, family and friends, or peers.

Purpose

Family Coast Support use a Positive Behaviour Support approach in working with people in situations where this is challenging behaviour or behaviour of concern.

The purpose of this policy is to detail the principles of a Positive Behaviour Support approach and how this is put into practice with Family Coast Support.

Family Coast Support recognise that there are many reasons for challenging behaviour and utilises a Positive Behaviour Support approach to ensure a friendly service environment, to work proactively to prevent and minimise challenges, to assist in teaching new behaviours and skills to respond positively if challenges do occur.

Family Coast Support works in a collaborative manner whereby participants and their families and significant supports will be consulted where appropriate at the first sign of any difficulties to gather information, advise, and develop a mutually-agreed-upon plan for intervention and support.

This policy is for all Family Coast Support staff working directly with or in an advisory role in situations where there is challenging behaviour.

Positive Behaviour Support is a comprehensive and holistic approach to supporting situations where there is challenging behaviour. Positive Behaviour Support encompasses respectful collaboration with individuals and their families to use effective evidence-based strategies to increase the quality of life for all involved. Reductions in behaviours of concern are necessary and important but improving lifestyles is also a major outcome. This includes everyday life skills, community participation, expanded social networks, increased variety and accommodation of personal preferences, choice making as well as capacity, and confidence of those who support the individual.

Family Coast Support understand that all challenging behaviour has a purpose and is not meaningless. Positive Behaviour Support is both positive and proactive. Positive means increasing and strengthening helpful behaviours via reinforcement. Proactive is the commitment to developing supportive environments that prevents and minimises challenges, anticipating where things may go wrong and planning to avoid that from happening.

Positive Behaviour Support emphasises that strategies have to be able to be implemented in everyday family and community life and routines. Strategies need to fit with the context in which they will be implemented. Interventions are to be evaluated and reviewed over time to ensure they are sustainable and taking effect.

Principles of Positive Behaviour Support

Person-centred approaches

Family Coast Support uses person-centred approaches. It is recognised that challenging behaviour often reflects a history of difficulties in relationships and experiences in relating with other people. It is seen as important when planning for positive change that it is important that the participant, their family, and key supports are involved in the person-centred planning.

A person-centred plan helps identify the needs and goals of the person and focuses upon community participation, meaningful social relationships, more opportunities for choice, creation of valued roles, and ongoing development of personal skills. The person-centred plan aims to address any unmet needs of the person through supporting positive engagement and enhancing quality of life.

Inclusion of relevant stakeholders

Family Coast Support recognise that Positive Behaviour Support is most effective when implemented across all settings of a person’s life. Positive Behaviour Support will be most effective when the relevant people who live or work with the person are actively involved in the assessment, planning, and implementation of positive behaviour support strategies.

Assessment-based intervention

In line with participant’s NDIS goals, funding, and participant request, Family Coast Support will assist to organise necessary assessments to guide positive behaviour support strategies. Family Coast Support will aim to assist participants displaying challenging behaviours to obtain a functional assessment, to help in identifying the reason underlying the behaviour.

Behaviour support plans

Following a comprehensive assessment of the person’s needs and their environment a behaviour support plan may be developed by a behaviour specialist. Family Coast Support staff will work in line with recommendations and strategies provided in the plan.

Behaviour support plans often include the following areas of focus:

Primary prevention

Putting in place support strategies to meet the person’s unmet needs. This may include making changes to the person’s environment, improving communication, supporting positive relationships and enhancing active engagement in meaningful activities. The idea is that making positive changes to the person’s environment results in their needs being better addressed, leading to less of a need to engage in challenging behaviour.

Responding to early signs of behaviour

It is acknowledged that early signs of behaviour are an initial indication a person’s needs have not been met. This part of the behaviour support plan aims to clarify what the person is attempting to communicate to others through their behaviour and provides a prompt for others to quickly put supports into place to:

  • Respond effectively to early behaviour before it escalates.
  • Put in place strategies to meet the unmet need.
  • Reactive strategies: these strategies aim to identify how to effectively respond to the challenging behaviour once it occurs, using positive behavioural management techniques designed to:
    • Ensure the safety of the person and others around them.
    • Ensure the least restrictive practices are used.
    • Help the person develop new skills and re- engage in positive behaviour and interactions as quickly as possible.
Skill building

Positive behaviour support develops the skills of the person displaying the challenging behaviour to help them:

  • Experience success and personal satisfaction across a variety of settings, including recreational, educational, work, social, community and family settings.
  • Develop more appropriate ways to communicate their needs.
  • Develop skills in daily living that meet potential gaps in being able to engage in meaningful activities.

Positive Behaviour Support also enhances the knowledge and skills of people who support the person with a disability so they can implement effective environmental and systems change.

Staff development

Family Coast Support is committed to working in knowledge and skills building for all staff and managers and believe that this is fundamental for Positive Behaviour Support. It is seen that education and training helps staff to build a better understanding of a person’s behaviour.

Working in knowledge and skills-building for all staff, supervisors, and managers in an organisation is fundamental to Positive Behaviour Support. Education and training also helps staff develop effective behaviour management plans and build a better understanding of a person’s behaviour.

Environmental re-design

Behaviour is influenced by the environment of the person. Positive Behaviour Support is a way of looking at the fit between the person and the environment they find themselves in. This may include staff attitudes, physical factors such as reducing noise levels and ensuring increased choice to the participant.

Procedures

In order for Family Coast Support Participants who display difficult behaviours the appropriate information will be obtained and the following procedures undertaken:

  • Obtain information upon initial assessment of any behavioural difficulties, triggers for the behaviour, and strategies already being used to support the individual to take control of their behaviour.
  • With the Participants permission obtain further information from medical and discharge reports, other providers and case managers.
  • Implement behaviour intervention plans already in place and provide Community Support Workers with training and information in its implementation.
  • Record strategies to assist with behaviour on the Participant’s file. All strategies are to be reviewed regularly.
  • Provide training to Community Support Workers in understanding people with disabilities and dealing with difficult behaviours.

Challenging Behavioural Incident Procedure

Should a Client display challenging behaviours whilst in the community or their home the following steps are to be adhered to:

  • Remain Calm.
  • Speak calmly to the Participant to determine what is upsetting them.
  • Follow any steps as listed on the Participant file such as behavioural intervention plans or  strategies.
  • Redirect the Participant where possible.
  • Ensure safety of self and other members of the public.
  • Dependent on mobility of the Participant displaying the behaviour, redirect other Participants to a safe place. This could be to another part of the environment which is quieter or less stimulating to senses.
  • Telephone the Operations or Day Program Manager to advise them of the situation.
  • The Operations Manager will make the decision as to whether the Carer, Police, or Mental Health Team is to be contacted.
  • The Operations Manager will organise appropriate debriefing for Community Support Workers and Participants.
  • The incident is to be documented on the appropriate incident form and in the Participants progress notes.

Referral to Behavioural Specialist by Family Coast Support

Where difficulties with behaviour continue the Manager and Community Support Workers will meet with the Participant and / or the Carer to discuss the difficulties being experienced. It may be appropriate to make referrals to agencies with expertise in behavioural management. Agencies could include:

  • Disability services
  • Specialist Behavioural therapists
  • Psychologist
  • Psychiatrists

Family Coast Support will work in conjunction with the specialist, specialist support, and the Participant and Carer to implement any behavioural plans and strategies which are devised.

Where a Participant continually displays challenging behaviour that cannot be resolved according to the strategies set out above, the Operations Manager may take the following actions:

  • Place the Participant’s support services on-hold until such time as the Participant can obtain specialist behavioural support. The Participant can re-access Family Coast Support when it can be demonstrated that the behaviour is able to be maintained.
  • Exit the Participant from Family Coast Support with the Operations Manager providing reasons for the exit in writing.

Releasing and Obtaining Information

  • The Operations Manager obtains only that information necessary for providing supports to the person.
  • The Operations Manager informs the person and their family about the request for information and the reasons for the request.
  • The Operations Manager obtains agreement from the person or the person responsible before information is obtained or released. This information is on a need-to-know basis.
  • The release of information to the best of the staff member’s knowledge is in the person’s best interest and does not result in disadvantage to the person.

General

This policy outlines Family Coast Support’s expectations regarding protecting the privacy of information which the organisation collects, uses and maintains for the purpose of conducting its business.

Family Coast Support is committed to ensuring that the collection and management of personal information is transparent, accountable and adherent to all relevant legislative requirements including the Australian Privacy Principles defined within the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).

Scope

Family Coast Support requires that all staff (including casual staff and volunteers) comply with this policy at all times in collecting and handling personal information in the course of their employment or engagement. Personal information may include staff information (including personnel records or files) and participant information, as relevant.

Collection of Personal Information

Family Coast Support will only collect personal information that is necessary to facilitate administrative processes or to provide a service to a participant. Personal information is information or an opinion that identifies or could identify a person, whether it is true or not and whether it is recorded in a material form or not.

It may also be necessary for Family Coast Support to collect sensitive information to perform some services. Sensitive information may include information about an individual’s racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, membership of a political association, religious beliefs or affiliations, philosophical beliefs, membership of a professional or trade association, membership of a trade union, sexual orientation, criminal record, health or genetic information or biometric information.

Personal and / or sensitive information collected by Family Coast Support may include name, date of birth, age, gender, nationality, personal and emergency contact details, taxation, banking or superannuation details, drivers licence details, education history and qualifications, previous or current employment information and details of reference checks, police checks and working with children registration, health and medical information, forensic orders, and / or financial management information from the Public Trustee.

Information is collected directly from an individual unless it is unreasonable or impracticable to do so. When information is collected from someone other than the individual Family Coast Support will take reasonable steps to ensure the individual is notified.

Information may be collected by telephone, in person at a Family Coast Support site or event, through the use of services, and through interviews, forms, and questionnaires.

Any information given voluntarily that is not required by Family Coast Support will be destroyed or de-identified.

Individuals have the option of remaining anonymous or using a pseudonym (fictitious name) when interacting with Family Coast Support unless there is a legal requirement for individuals to identify themselves or where it is not possible to deliver a service to individuals who have not identified themselves.

In terms of participant service, the information collected will be accurate and factual to enable staff to effectively plan for and evaluate participant progress.

Collecting information will not intrude unreasonably on the participant’s personal affairs. Advice will be given to participants and/or their advocates about the purpose of information collection and conditions regarding release before these actions occur.

Use And Disclosure Of Personal Information

Personal information will not be disclosed without obtaining prior written consent from the participant or staff member, except where required or authorised by law. Personal information is not disclosed to overseas recipients.

Photographs or news stories relating to an individual will not be released without the prior written consent of the person or advocate.

The decision to collect and disclose information is based on the best interests of the individual.

Staff will recognise and respect the participant’s role in controlling what information is revealed and recorded. Only information relevant to the support requirements for the participant will be maintained.

If the participant does not have the capacity to make an informed decision regarding the disclosure of information they will be given the opportunity to gain support from an advocate.

Sensitive information will not be released if it is judged by the Director of the Division to be of a damaging or detrimental nature. Reasons for this decision will be noted in the file notes.

Access to personal information held in participant files is restricted to:

  • The person or a person’s guardian or administrator who has authority for the relevant area. (For example, a person’s administrator can access financial records.)
  • Support staff (including casual staff) who need it to support the person.
  • Professionals employed to provide services to people living in residential services such as health professionals who need to access or record information.
  • People with legal authority to access files.

Family Coast Support will take reasonable steps to ensure individuals are informed beforehand of situations where the law allows or requires information to be given to other parties.

Consent is not required if information is:

  • Necessary to prevent or lessen a serious threat to the life or health of the participant or a member of the public.
  • Subject to a subpoena.
  • Reasonably necessary for the enforcement of the law or for the protection of public money.
  • Used for the purpose for which it is obtained. (For example, a record of the participant’s seizures may be required by the doctor managing the participant’s epilepsy treatment.)

Maintaining the Quality of Personal Information

Family Coast Support will take all reasonable steps to make sure that the participant’s personal information is accurate, complete, up-to-date, relevant, and not misleading. It is important that a participant or their agent advise us at the earliest opportunity of any significant changes to personal information so that our records can be updated.

Where information has been disclosed to a third party in accordance with this policy Family Coast Support will take reasonable steps to notify the third party of updated information unless it is impracticable or unlawful to do so.

If a staff member or coordinator becomes aware of some significant change in a participant’s circumstances, they should encourage the participant to speak to the Director to have that information updated.

Breaches To Privacy & Confidentiality

The Director may initiate disciplinary action and / or legal action against any person who contravenes this policy.

Any participant who suspects a breach of their privacy has occurred can lodge a complaint through the Family Coast Support Complaints Management Process. The External Complaints Management Policy and Complaints Procedure are available on this website. Family Coast Support is committed to resolving complaints within a reasonable timeframe.

The Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme under Part IIIC of the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) (Cth) established requirements for entities in responding to data breaches; therefore Family Coast Support have data breach notification obligations when a data breach is likely to result in serious harm to any individuals whose personal information is involved in the breach.

References

  • Privacy Act 1988 (Cth)
  • The Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) (Cth):
    • The open and transparent management of personal information including having a privacy policy.
    • An individual having the option of transacting anonymously or using a pseudonym where practicable.
    • The collection of solicited personal information and receipt of unsolicited personal information including giving notice about collection.
    • How personal information can be used and disclosed (including overseas).
    • Maintaining the quality of personal information.
    • Keeping personal information secure.
    • The right for individuals to access and correct their personal information.
  • The APPs place more stringent obligations on APP entities when they handle ‘sensitive information’. Sensitive information is a type of personal information and includes information about an individual's:
    • Health (including predictive genetic information),
    • Racial or ethnic origin,
    • Political opinions,
    • Membership of a political association, professional or trade association, or trade union,
    • Religious beliefs or affiliations,
    • Philosophical beliefs,
    • Sexual orientation or practices,
    • Criminal record,
    • Biometric information that is to be used for certain purposes, and
    • Biometric templates

The community is compelled by law to behave in such a way as not to harm or put at risk members of the community. Duty of care is also concerned with ensuring people are treated with respect and dignity, in society this is probably called “good manners” (Miller, 1996).

Duty of care as a concept is part of the larger legal concept of negligence and is dealt with under common law. Legal precedent and prevailing community attitudes and expectations largely determine this part of the law. It is also referred to as “judge-made” or “precedent law” setting it apart from statute law made by parliaments or regulations and by-laws made by governments or other authorities. As such there are no precise legislated definitions for the concepts of “duty of care” and “negligence”. Instead these have been defined through history and convention and have changed and developed and taken on new nuances as times have changed.

Essentially duty of care means being in a position where someone else is relying on you to be careful, and where, if you are not careful, it is reasonably predictable that the other person might suffer harm.

Negligence in the context of discussing duty of care, is seen as a legal action taken by one party against another, in which the claimant seeks damages in respect of personal injury, death or loss resulting from the wrongful or negligent acts of omissions of the other party.

  • Negligent acts are not deliberate, but injury is foreseeable. The negligent person will not be punished but the injured party may seek compensation.
  • Foreseeable refers to what is possible rather than what is probable. It is important to anticipate potential risks and to take necessary steps to reduce risk.

The standard of care is referred to as the measure of what is reasonable practice or conduct and is determined by a range of factors.

  • The standards that are generally seen as applicable to the situation.
  • Other laws and regulations that might apply to the circumstances.
  • The need to meet the duty of care to all other persons who might be involved.
  • Current community values about what is acceptable practice.
  • The level of information and support given to the Support Worker providing support services to the Consumer.

The standard of care will vary considerably depending on the person providing the support and is linked back to the nature of the support that the person with a disability is relying on and the skills and experience necessary to provide that support.

The duty of care regarding provision of support through Family Coast Support is shared depending on the situation between:

  • the Client, if able, to provide relevant and timely information that may affect the risk to the Support Worker and/or other parties involved,
  • the Carer of the client to provide relevant and timely information that may affect the risk to the Support Worker providing support to do so in the manner agreed and in accordance with all organisational and community standards and to communicate relevant and timely information that may affect the risk to all parties involved,
  • the Case manager requesting the support for the Client to provide relevant and timely information that may affect the risk to any and/or all parties by liaising with all parties as necessary,
  • Employees of Family Coast Support following all organisational procedures, liaising with all parties as necessary, and doing so in a timely manner.

Breach of duty of care is when an appropriate standard of care exists and the standard is not met.

The reasonableness of what a person has done or not done is assessed by considering the person’s skills and suitability for the situation and whether the situation was foreseeable. The preparedness for the situation is also assessed, proving the importance of risk management procedures required of each Request for Support.

A negligence incidence may result in some form of harm or loss to the person(s) whom the duty of care was owed. Resulting bodily injury, death, economic loss or emotional stress may lead to damages claimed. There is also the potential for unreasonable and unnecessary restrictions on the Consumers’ freedoms and autonomy in attempting to minimise risks.

Family Coast Support will provide relevant and up to date information to all employees facilitating support of Consumers and to Support Workers providing support, on organisational, community and disability standards. Family Coast Support will also provide relevant and timely Consumer risk management strategies as provided by the relevant Case Managers.

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To do so, please complete this form and press the 'Send' button.

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Family Coast Support is committed to providing quality services through the consistent application of quality policies and procedures, and to continuously improve service delivery.

All Family Coast Support participants, family members, or other professionals are welcome to make a complaint or raise a concern. To do so, please complete this form and press the 'Send' button.

Privacy Note: The information in your complaint, including your name and address, will only be disclosed to relevant individuals for following up your complaint or concern. You may choose not to include your personal details; however, in that case we will not be able to respond to you.

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