No. Perpetrators commonly discourage victims from reporting by misleading them about police and how the system works. It is also common for perpetrators to discredit victims and convince them that no one will believe them. Victoria Police has established a standalone policy on employee perpetrated family violence and a specialised investigation unit (SOFVU) for responses to family violence, sexual offences, and sexual harassment to ensure employee perpetrators are held accountable.
Trust the information provided to you by SOFVU and your investigating officer, not your police employee perpetrator. If you have concerns about what your police perpetrator has told you, fact check with your investigator or SOFVU.
When your perpetrator works for Victoria Police, the investigation process for your complaint against them differs to that applying to non-police perpetrators. The main differences are:
Your complaint is taken as a complaint against a police employee and triggers three response options: civil interventions, a criminal investigation and an internal misconduct investigation.
Your complaint or FVSN application will have oversight from Professional Standards Command.
Your complaint will be recorded and assessed by Professional Standards Command and either allocated to a regional officer to investigate or to SOFVU if it involves a sexual offence or family violence incident involving a crime, serious or persistent and ongoing offending.
A specific Victoria Police policy applies to your complaint of family violence involving Victoria Police employees. Victoria Police also have a policy for sexual offence investigations.
Investigating your complaint and charging your police employee perpetrator (if applicable) may take longer than normal due to the requirement for additional legal advice.
If your police employee perpetrator is charged, the charges will need to be authorised by the Assistant Commissioner of Professional Standards Command.
For further details on the investigation pathways your complaint may take read the Criminal Complaint and Discipline Investigation section of this guide.
Each incident, allegation and investigation are different therefore time frames may differ due to the complexity of each matter. There are strict guidelines for investigators to adhere to and the investigator should keep you regularly updated. Victoria Police Policy for Complaint Management outlines time frames for the investigation phase as follows: civil process 90 days, minor misconduct 90 days, misconduct connected to duty 90 days, criminality not connected to duty 90 days and corruption 152 days. An investigator may apply for an extension if delays are experienced in the gathering of evidence.
Once the investigator has finished the investigation and submits a brief for authorisation, that process will take longer than the process for authorising charges against an offender who does not work for Victoria Police. Charges proposed against police employees require several approvals by the investigator’s superior officers, senior officers in Professional Standards Command including the Assistant Commissioner, and often consultation with the Office of Public Prosecutions.
If you are not satisfied with the progress of your investigation, you can:
- ask to speak to the officer in charge of the investigator’s work location
- contact the Police Conduct Unit by calling or by emailing
- contact the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) by calling or by emailing
If you prefer, you can speak to your current investigator. If your matter is finalised, speak with the Police Conduct Unit by calling or by emailing . They will do their best to connect you with the investigator you have previously dealt with. This may not always be possible depending on where the investigator is working at that time.
This is dependent on the nature and number of further offences. In some instances, the current offending can be added to the original matters, but in some circumstances they will be separated. There can be an impact on the timeliness of the progression of matters when further offending is identified or reported.
If I get a family violence intervention order or make a criminal complaint, can my police employee perpetrator still work?
If you get an order or make a criminal complaint, whether your police employee perpetrator has to take leave, is suspended, or can keep working will depend upon the individual circumstances, allegations, and risks. If you have safety and risk related concerns about your perpetrator working, not working, or abusing Victoria Police systems access, you can raise these with your investigator or make a report to the Police Conduct Unit.
In most circumstances attendance at court can be arranged with your safety and security as a priority. Evidence can be given from a remote room at the court and in some special circumstances via a video link from an alternate location. A police prosecutor or lawyer and the investigator will be present. Witness support employees, social workers, counsellors, and family may also attend to support you. For more serious criminal matters, you will be allocated a support officer by the Office of Public Prosecutions and there are support workers available to sit with you in court and support you at most Magistrates’ Courts in Victoria.
The time frames for criminal matters in court are difficult to predict. The time frame will be dependent upon which court you are in, where the court is, the nature of the charges, and the behaviour of your perpetrator. It is not uncommon for there to be adjournments for various reasons.
There will be some court appearances that are just administrative, such as mention dates. You do not need to attend these or to attend court unless your investigator tells you to be there.
Other Victoria Police employees may informally attend court in support of your police employee perpetrator and this can be distressing and disconcerting for some victim survivors. Their support does not mean that you are not believed or that you are not taken seriously. If you have concerns about the behaviour of any Victoria Police employee who attends court (or towards you generally) please let your investigator know.
It is common for victim survivors, once they feel safe or have better support, to change their mind about reporting something they were not going to report. In most cases, where there is a delay in reporting, an investigation can still proceed. However, for some offences (summary offences), assaults (unlawful assaults) or threatened assaults (where you weren’t injured) and breaches of an order, there is a 12 month expiry. For those offences, your police employee perpetrator needs to be charged within 12 months of what they did, and if you delay reporting, it may mean that police cannot charge them for what they’ve done.
It is normal to have a range of feelings when you or your children are experiencing harm or have experienced violence, particularly if the perpetrator is a Victoria Police employee. Feelings of fear, isolation, embarrassment or guilt are all normal responses to this type of stressful situation. Wellbeing supports like counselling can help you manage these feelings.
We want you to know that you and your children have the right to feel safe all the time. The community has the right to expect Victoria Police employees will not perpetrate family or sexual violence.
Victoria Police is committed to holding its employees to account for any criminality and misconduct.
Please see the Family Violence and Sexual Offence Services section of this guide for support and counselling options. Your investigator and support person can also make referrals on your behalf.
Reviewed 21 December 2021