Raise a concern about research conduct

How to raise a concern or complaint about research conduct

We are committed to researcher integrity and the ethical conduct of research projects and evaluations. However, if you do have any concerns or complaints about the ethical conduct of the research, or any aspect of AIFS' conduct, you may contact the AIFS Ethics Committee secretariat online, or on (03) 9214 7888.

The Ethics Committee secretariat can ensure your concern is handled by someone not connected with the research project and can facilitate a resolution to your concern in an impartial manner.

How we deal with research conduct concerns or complaints

We will always respond to your concern or complaint. We will try and respond to you as quickly as possible, but sometimes we might need some time to investigate and resolve your concerns. If your issue is complex, it might take us several days to resolve, but usually we will respond to you within a few days.

We will try to resolve your concern or complaint by providing an explanation, information or taking some other action. We will use what we learn from concerns and complaints about the conduct of research to improve how we carry out research in the future.

To help us respond quickly and effectively to your concern or complaint, we ask you to:

  • include as much information as you can to help us identify what research project your concern or complaint relates to
  • clearly outline the nature of your concern or complaint
  • consider how you want us to resolve your concern or complaint.

If a complaint cannot be resolved

Where we are unable to resolve a complaint to your satisfaction, we will explain why and let you know what other options you have. Our objective is to resolve your complaint or address your concern up front. If this is not possible, there are other external and independent avenues you can take:

  • Commonwealth Ombudsman – The Commonwealth Ombudsman considers and investigates complaints about Australian Government departments and agencies. If you think you have been unfairly treated by an Australian Government agency you can complain to the Ombudsman. The Commonwealth Ombudsman is also the Defence Force, Immigration, Law Enforcement, Postal Industry, Taxation, ACT, and Overseas Students Ombudsman. 
  • Office of the Australian Information Commissioner – Under the Privacy Act 1988 you can make a complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner about the way Commonwealth Government agencies, including AIFS, handle your personal information. If you believe your privacy rights have been infringed by AIFS' research, you can contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. Before you can lodge a complaint with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, you will generally need to raise your concern directly with us.

Other support when talking to us

You may find the following resources helpful when making a complaint or giving feedback:

  • Legal Aid – National Legal Aid (NLA) represents the Directors of each of the eight State and Territory Legal Aid Commissions in Australia. 
  • Family Relationships Online – A service that helps families affected by relationship or separation issues, including information on parenting arrangements after separation.
  • National Association of Community Legal Centres – The Community Legal Centres provide legal and related services to the public.