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About reportable incidents

A reportable incident is an incident that you must report to us. Reportable incidents involve a person's care.

An incident is reportable if:

  • it is one of the 8 reportable incident types, and
  • has occurred (or is alleged to have occurred, or is suspected of occurring) to a person receiving aged care.

Key actions

  • Learn how to assess if an incident is reportable.
  • Understand the differences between Priority 1 and Priority 2 incidents.
  • Know your role in reporting incidents.
  • Record all reportable incidents in your Incident Management System (IMS)
  • Follow your service's policies for reporting incidents.

When an incident happens, you must decide whether it's reportable and Priority 1 or 2.

The priority level sets the urgency of the notification. If unsure, workers should ask the service's manager for help.

Work tool

Our Reportable Incidents Workflow helps you make decisions about each incident type.

Reportable incidents

The 8 types of reportable incidents are:

  • unreasonable use of force
  • unlawful sexual contact or inappropriate sexual conduct
  • psychological or emotional abuse
  • unexpected death
  • stealing or financial coercion by a staff member
  • neglect
  • inappropriate use of restrictive practices
  • unexplained absence.

We’ve provided example responses for each type.

Incidents that need to be reported

You need to tell us about all reportable incidents, including incidents:

  • suspected or alleged, even if you can't confirm the incident.
  • under investigation (for example, internal or police investigations).
  • involving people using aged care who don’t want to report the incident
  • involving care recipients, including those with cognitive impairments.

For home services, you need to tell us about all reportable incidents to do with care.

Workers' rights

If you think your service’s response is inadequate, discuss it with your manager if you feel safe.

You can also contact us directly in a process known as ‘disclosure’. 

The Aged Care Act 1997 protects people who disclose reportable incidents. This includes workers, consumers, families, volunteers and advocates.

Priority 1 and Priority 2 incidents

You must decide if a reportable incident is a Priority 1 or a Priority 2 incident.

  • For Priority 1 incidents, notify us within 24 hours of becoming aware.
  • For Priority 2 incidents, notify us within 30 days of becoming aware.

Use your IMS for all types of reportable incidents.

You don't need permission from those involved to tell us about a reportable incident.

Priority 1 incidents

Examples of Priority 1 incidents include:

  • a physical or psychological injury or discomfort that needs medical or psychological treatment
  • unlawful sexual contact or inappropriate sexual conduct
  • the unexpected death of a person using aged care
  • the unexplained absence of a person receiving care.

If there are reasonable grounds for reporting the incident to the police, it's also a Priority 1 incident.

Priority 2 incidents

Priority 2 incidents are all other incidents that aren't Priority 1.


You must notify us about reportable incidents through My Aged Care's provider portal.

Provide the names of all the people involved.

If you don't have the names of those involved at the time of reporting, you must notify us:

  • when you become aware
  • as soon as possible.

Incidents you don't need to report

You don’t need to notify us of incidents caused by an informed person that: 

  • refuses care or services
  • doesn't follow a recommended course of action. 

What is an informed person?

People using aged care have the right to make decisions about that care if they're properly informed.

An informed person is someone who understands:

  • the importance of their care and services
  • what could happen if they refuse care or services
  • the steps you can take to reduce the risk from their decision.

Sometimes, a person will refuse care or services or doesn’t follow a recommended care plan. In that case, document the details in their care plan, including:

  • the circumstances of the refusal
  • your understanding of why they are refusing
  • your actions to address the risk.

Contacting the police

If you believe an incident involves a crime or ongoing danger, you (or someone from your service) must notify the police within 24 hours. 

For example, if you suspect a person using aged care has been assaulted or sexually assaulted, contact the police.

If you become aware later during your investigation, notify the police and let us know within 24 hours. 

If you’re unsure whether an incident is criminal, it’s best to report it to the police.

Assessing injury or discomfort

If a person using aged care requires medical or psychological treatment from an incident, it's classed as a Priority 1 reportable incident.

Injury and discomfort include visible injuries such as bruises, cuts and fractures. It also includes emotional and psychological impacts. 

Use your judgement and knowledge to assess the level of injury or discomfort.

Remember that assessing emotional and psychological impacts is essential for people with cognitive impairment. The same applies to those who've experienced incidents of a sexual nature. These people might not be able to express their distress.

Determining if an incident could have caused harm

If an incident could have caused injury or discomfort requiring treatment, it's Priority 1.

Even if harm didn’t occur in a specific case, the incident could do so.

For example, suppose a consumer with cognitive impairment didn’t show signs of distress after a sexual assault.

In that case, it's still considered a Priority 1 incident. Regardless of their specific response, it would reasonably cause emotional distress to any consumer experiencing it.

Work tool

Our Serious Incident Response Scheme decision support tool can help you assess whether an incident is reportable and Priority 1 or 2.

More information

For more information on SIRS, contact us:

Training and education

Facilitated workshops

Learn about our upcoming facilitated workshops on reportable incidents.

Online learning

For employees of aged care providers, we have a free online education service that includes:

  • modules covering reportable incidents 
  • the 8 reportable incident types.


The information contained on this page provides general guidance.

It's your responsibility to be aware of your legislative requirements.

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