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Professional Misconduct in Context of Client under Order for Supervision


Psychology Board of Australia v Goode (Corrected) (Review and Regulation) [2024] VCAT 232

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Tribunal), in a corrected March 28, 2024 decision, canceled the Respondent’s registration and disqualified the Respondent from further application until 2028.

The Respondent had more than 40 years’ experience and faced allegations before the Tribunal with regard to conduct relating to the treatment of a convicted perpetrator for sexual abuse against a child. Recognized for her expertise in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the Respondent had previously published and lectured on child development, education, language and ASD. The Respondent treated the client, who had committed offenses that resulted in his conviction of persistent sexual abuse of a child under 16 and child pornography since 2010.

In this instance, the Tribunal found that the Respondent failed to properly inform herself on the contents of the client’s supervision order and how to engage with the treatment of the client’s ASD and failed to provide a report regarding the client’s potential for risk of reoffending that did not correspond with past events or circumstances. The client was a convicted sex offender who had traumatized a child under the age of 16 and expressed a “sexual interest in cats,” giving context to his risk of reoffending. Still, under the treatment of Respondent, the client was arguably empowered to violate his Supervision Order under the treatment of Respondent.

By acting outside of her “competence and scope of practice,” the Respondent was in error in writing her report relating to treatment for a sexual offender that was subject to a Supervision Order. In addition, her lack of introspection and conduct that “significantly undermined public confidence in the role of the profession” was factored into the decision by the Tribunal.

This Tribunal reprimanded the Respondent, including cancellation of her registration, to disqualify her from applying to be re-registered for a period of around 4 ½ years and to prohibit her from providing any health service regarding ASD, given the concern that her ongoing treatment would cause “significant damage to the reputation of the profession.”