Special Report

Victorian Inspectorate tables Special Report on witness welfare in Victoria's integrity system

The Victorian Inspectorate has tabled a Special Report, Welfare of Witnesses in IBAC Investigations, to highlight the importance of the welfare of witnesses subject to the exercise of coercive powers by integrity agencies.

Tabled in Parliament today, the report found that a witness twice attempted suicide while being coercively examined at the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC), and another witness was coercively examined while her mental state was significantly impaired.

The report found that IBAC's policies and procedures did not sufficiently take the welfare of witnesses into account, particularly their mental health.

The Inspector, Eamonn Moran PSM QC, said the report highlighted the need for integrity agencies to have regard for the welfare of witnesses.

"Victoria's integrity agencies have significant coercive powers to compel witnesses to provide evidence. With those powers comes responsibility, and Victorians need to be assured that agencies with these powers are being held to the highest standard," Mr Moran said.

"No matter who the witness is, or why they are being investigated, integrity agencies must demonstrate a regard for their welfare," Mr Moran said.

The report makes 10 recommendations designed to bring IBAC's policies and procedures into alignment with community standards and expectations, particularly as these relate to mental health.

"None of the observations or recommendations made in this report impinge on operational effectiveness," Mr Moran said.

"The Inspectorate acknowledges that IBAC has changed its policies and procedures, and made improvements to its hearing room precinct, since the incidents set out in this report. However, more can, and must, be done," Mr Moran said.

The Victorian Inspectorate is the key independent oversight body for Victoria's integrity system. The Inspectorate was established by the Victorian Inspectorate Act (2011), to ensure that other integrity agencies use their powers lawfully, and properly perform their statutory functions.

Read the report here: www.vic.gov.au/vicinspectorate

Media contact: Kathryn Phillips
Mobile: 0408 187 580
Email: kathryn.phillips@vicinspectorate.vic.gov.au