Protected disclosures

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.

Please note: Changes to the Protected Disclosure Act 2012 commence on 1 January 2020. For more information, see Changes to protected disclosure legislation.

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.

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

More information


Are you a Protected Disclosure Coordinator?

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