What is a protected disclosure?

In some circumstances, a complaint will be a protected disclosure. These were previously known as 'whistleblower' complaints. Protected disclosures mean the person making the complaint (disclosers) will be legally protected under the Protected Disclosure Act 2012 (Vic) You can ask for your complaint to be assessed as a protected disclosure.

In order for the complaint to be a protected disclosure, the complaint must be about corruption or police misconduct in the public sector.

The Protected Disclosure Act 2012 (Vic) encourages people to come forward and make complaints by offering legal protection. The Act encourages openness and accountability across the Victorian public sector.

What legal protections will you receive as a 'protected discloser' (previously 'whistleblower')?

If your complaint is assessed as a protected disclosure, the following legal protections apply:

  • we will never publicise your name
  • you and your family, friends and colleagues will be protected from being fired or bullied for making a complaint
  • you will receive protection from defamation and detrimental action in reprisal for making a protected disclosure
  • you will receive immunity from:
    • civil or criminal liability as well as administrative action (including disciplinary action) for making the disclosure
    • committing an offence under the Constitution Act 1975 (Vic) or any other Act that imposes obligations of confidentiality or otherwise restricts the disclosure of information
    • breaching any other obligation (made by oath or rule of law or practice) requiring the maintenance of confidentiality or otherwise restricting the disclosure of information.

If you become a 'protected discloser'

You can't tell anyone the details of your complaint. Exceptions include:

  • a lawyer
  • an interpreter
  • (if you are under 18) a parent or guardian.

We decide which complaints become protected disclosures

Under the Protected Disclosure Act 2012 (Vic) we play a key role in receiving, assessing, and investigating disclosures about corrupt conduct. We can also receive, assess and investigate any harm towards to an individual for making a protected disclosure.

Protected disclosure coordinator e-module

We have produced a comprehensive online resource for PD Coordinators. The e-module covers the role of IBAC, our work with the public sector, and managing protected disclosures in Victoria. Find out more.

Related resources

More detail about protected disclosures is set out in the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission Act 2011 (Vic)