The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia.

5.3 Direct personal response


A direct personal response (DPR) is one of the 3 components offered through the Scheme to eligible people.

Participating in a DPR is an opportunity for people who have experienced abuse while in the 'care' of an institution to share their experience of abuse, to the extent they wish to do so, with a representative of the institution and to have them hear, recognise and acknowledge their story. The institution's representative may apologise on behalf of the institution and explain the steps the institution has taken or will take to prevent abuse happening again in the future.

A DPR can be given through a face-to-face meeting between a person and a representative of the institution, a written letter, or any other method preferred by the person and agreed to by the institution.

All participating institutions must participate in a DPR with a person who requests it, except where it would risk causing harm. Institutions must provide DPRs in line with the NRS DPR Framework.

Requesting a DPR

When a person requests a DPR in their acceptance document, the Scheme will advise the responsible institution. The Scheme will also send the person the contact details of the relevant DPR contact at the responsible institution, who will assist the person to arrange their DPR. When they are ready, the person seeking the DPR will need to contact the institution's DPR contact to arrange their DPR.

What institutions should consider when providing a DPR

  • Institutions should be responsive to a person's needs in arranging and engaging in the DPR.
  • The wishes of the person seeking a DPR guide the extent and nature of any contact between the person and the institution for the purpose of the DPR.
  • Institutions should be clear to people seeking DPR about what they are willing to offer in a DPR and what the limits of the process are. Institutions should not offer or agree to provide kinds of DPR they are not prepared to provide or cannot provide safely.
  • Institutional representatives should be selected to participate in DPRs based on their position in the institution, whether they have displayed empathy and other relevant traits, and whether they have received relevant training.
  • Institutional representatives involved in DPR should receive training to understand the DPR process, the nature and impact of child sexual abuse, and cultural awareness.
  • Institutions should make efforts to accommodate a person's preferences about the gender, cultural background or other characteristics of the institutional representative they want to have their DPR from.
  • When a DPR is arranged, the details should be confirmed to the person in writing.
  • Institutions must pay the costs associated with the DPR.

Face-to-face DPR

If a person wants a face-to-face DPR, the institution should make efforts to give the DPR at a time and place agreed with the person. The face-to-face meeting could include other people who were abused in the same institution, if the institution and all participants agree and this can be done safely and effectively.

Confidentiality of DPR

All aspects of the DPR are confidential, unless all participants agree otherwise, or a threat to human life, health or safety is revealed through the DPR.

Delaying or stopping a DPR

  • Participation is voluntary for the person and for any individuals involved in the process.
  • A person seeking a DPR may delay or stop the DPR at any time.
  • Any other person involved in the DPR may delay or stop the DPR at any time if they have concerns about the health or safety of anyone participating in the DPR.
  • If the person delays the DPR or does not attend a meeting, the institution should make reasonable efforts to reschedule or make new arrangements.
  • If the DPR is delayed or stopped by any other person, the institution must offer to resume the DPR as soon as possible. The institution may need to provide a different institutional representative or another kind of DPR.
  • All participants, (including the person, any support person/s, institutional representative, and facilitator as applicable) should receive a clear explanation of the intended DPR arrangements and agree to participate on that basis.
  • The participating institution participates in DPR on the basis that the person's account has been accepted. The institutional representative must not question the person's story.

When DPR is not required

An institution does not have to engage in a DPR if:

  • the person does not request a DPR in their acceptance document
  • the person does not make contact with the institution to arrange their DPR before the Scheme sunset day (30 June 2028), or does not respond to reasonable attempts by the institution to arrange the DPR
  • the person has told the institution they want to stop participating in the DPR process, or
  • the person has already received a DPR from the institution under the Scheme.

Review & reporting of DPR

Institutions must ask people for feedback on their DPR and give people details for how to provide feedback or complaints. The institution must make efforts to address feedback and complaints.

Institutions must provide annual reporting data to the Scheme in the approved format.

Act reference: NRSAct Part 2-5 Division 4 Direct personal responses

NRS DPR Framework

NRS Rules section 75(h) details relating to the provision of direct personal responses in the year

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