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Duty of care

A breach of any duty of care means that the community organisation owed a duty of care and did not fulfil that duty to the appropriate standard. For example a breach might be where a community worker was obliged to advise a person properly about their entitlements and failed to do so thereby causing a client to lose access to such entitlements.

Whether a community worker has breached their duty of care (based on the appropriate standard of care) will be a matter for a Court.

For example a community worker provides lifestyle support to a person with a severe intellectual disability who doesn’t understand basic safety issues. The worker fails to ensure that the client is wearing a safety harness whilst a passenger in the work vehicle and subsequently has a serious accident wherein the client is badly injured. In a case such as this, it is likely that the community worker owed a duty of care to the client as well as there being a general duty imposed by traffic laws. By not acting to ensure compliance, the worker has probably breached their duty of care.
Community Services Act & Disability Services Act

Both the Community Services Act and the Disability Services Act require that organisations have policies that set up some duties to clients.

The Disability Services Act requires policies on avoiding abuse, neglect and exploitation of clients (regulation 17)
The Community Services Act requires the organisation to take reasonable steps to protect the users of services from harm (regulation 8).