What is a protected disclosure?

In some circumstances, IBAC may decide your complaint is a protected disclosure (previously known as 'whistleblower' complaints).

We assess every complaint we receive as a potential protected disclosure.

Additionally, we receive and assess potential disclosures as notified by other public sector agencies, as well as allegations of harm to an individual for making a protected disclosure.

What legal protections do disclosers receive?

If your complaint is assessed as a protected disclosure:

  • 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 cannot tell anyone the details of your complaint. Exceptions include:

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

Your disclosure can only be investigated by Victoria Police Professional Standards Command (if a police matter), the Victorian Ombudsman or IBAC.

Who you can complain to

Most public sector bodies have a Protected Disclosure Coordinator to help support and protect staff in making disclosures.

If your agency doesn’t have a Protected Disclosure Coordinator to speak to, you can contact IBAC directly. 

Are you a Protected Disclosure Coordinator?

We have resources to help you receive potential disclosures, and manage the welfare of disclosers.

Anyone can complain to us about public sector corruption and police misconductFind out how.