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Telephone: 1800 677 342

About the Commissioner

Laurie Harkin AM is the Disability Services Commissioner. The Commissioner is an independent oversight body for the Victorian disability sector and has responsibility for handling complaints, oversight of critical incidents, and conducting investigations into allegations of abuse, assault, and neglect.

Learn more about the Functions of the Commissioner.

Learn more about the Powers of the Commissioner.

The Disability Services Commissioner (DSC) was established in 2007 under the Disability Act 2006 to act as an independent complaints body, providing a free and confidential complaints resolution process. The Disability Amendment Act 2017 enhances the role and powers of the DSC and now allows for greater investigation, inquiry and inspection powers.

The Commissioner is supported in his work by the Deputy Commissioner Miranda Bruyniks and staff members in our Resolutions, Quality, Systemic Review, Capacity Development, Legal and Executive Services teams. Find out more about our team.

Functions of the DSC

The Commissioner is empowered by Section 16 of the Disability Act 2006 to perform specific functions. These include (amongst other functions):

  1. Assessing, conciliating or investigating complaints relating to disability services
  2. Reviewing and identifying causes of complaints, and causes of abuse and neglect, and suggest ways of removing and minimising those causes
  3. Maintaining a record of all complaints received and investigations conducted, and publishing information about these complaints and investigations
  4. Providing advice, inquiring or investigating matters referred by the Minister or the Secretary
  5. Providing education and information about the prevention and resolution of complaints, and the prevention of and responses to abuse and neglect
  6. Conducting research into complaints, abuse and neglect in disability services

Powers of the DSC

Section 17 of the Disability Act 2006 sets out powers the Commissioner may use in performing functions under the Act, including:

  1. Consulting with any persons or bodies which the Commissioner considers appropriate
  2. Developing and suggesting ways of implementing procedures for dealing with complaints relating to disability services, and preventing and responding to abuse and neglect of people with a disability
  3. Providing advice on any matter relating to complaints, accountability investigations, and the prevention of and response to abuse and neglect in disability services
  4. Seek information about complaints systems, and any systems in place to prevent and respond to abuse and neglect

In addition to the above functions and powers, the Commissioner also has the power to conduct Commissioner initiated investigations (Section 128B), appoint Authorised Officers who have the power to visit and inspect premises of disability service providers (132B), and more. For more information about the work of DSC, please see What We Do.

To read the Disability Act 2006 in full and understand more about DSC functions and powers, you can visit the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents website.

 

Level 20, 570 Bourke Street,

Melbourne, Victoria, 3000 Australia

Call for enquiries or complaints - 1800 677 342

Email for enquiries or complaints - complaints@odsc.vic.gov.au