Authorising Environment: which legislation allows you to share information?
In some circumstances, we already share client information with other professionals. When sharing information, you must understand which legislation gives you the legal authority to share that information, because each legislation has different requirements that must be met.
The sharing of information is already permitted under laws, such as:
- Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic) (PDP Act)
- Health Records Act 2001 (Vic)
- Privacy Act 1988 (Cth)
- Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic)
The Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS) and the Child Information Sharing Scheme (CISS) provide additional pathways for sharing information. They are designed to operate within the existing privacy obligations under two Victorian Acts: the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 and the Health Records Act 2001.
The FVISS and the CISS do not affect other information sharing permissions or reporting obligations, such as mandatory reporting requirements in the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic).
The FVISS and CISS allow for information sharing for different purposes. They may be used together, depending on the circumstances.
Information Sharing Schemes
Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme
The FVISS was established under Part 5A of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) and the Family Violence Protection (Information Sharing and Risk Management) Regulations 2018 (Regulations). The FVISS is used to assess and manage family violence risk.
Child Information Sharing Scheme
The CISS was established under Part 6A of the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 (Vic). The CISS to promote the wellbeing or safety of a child or group of children.
The FVISS and CISS may be used together, depending on the circumstances.
Which information sharing scheme should I use?
Understanding the framework that you are working under is important, because this will determine what requirements you need to meet. Depending on whether children are involved, you may need to share information under the FVISS, CISS or both.
The following table sets out the above information to help you determine which information sharing scheme applies:
|Are you sharing to promote children’s wellbeing or safety?||Are you sharing to assess or manage Family Violence risk?||Information Sharing Scheme|
|Yes||No||Use the CISS|
|Yes||Yes||Use the FVISS and the CISS|
|No||Yes||Use the FVISS|
Identifying which scheme applies is important because each scheme has different requirements in terms of purpose and consent.
For further information about information sharing, you can visit the websites of the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner, or the Australian Institute of Family Studies.