What if I have concerns or complaints about the conduct of research/evaluation?

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) is 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.

AIFS encourages you to contact the AIFS Ethics Committee secretariat in the first instance.

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 will AIFS deal with my concern or complaint about the ethical conduct of research?

If you have any concerns or complaints about the ethical conduct of the research, or any aspect of AIFS' conduct, we encourage you to contact the AIFS Ethics Committee secretariat in the first instance, (03) 9214 7888.

We will always respond to your concern or complaint. We will try and respond to you as quickly as possible, but depending on the nature of your complaint or concern, 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:

  • Give us 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.

Confidentiality and privacy

AIFS research is conducted in accordance with strict privacy and ethical requirements. We make sure your privacy is respected in line with the provisions of the Privacy Act 1988.

If you have concerns about how AIFS has handled your personal information, please contact us.

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.

For more information visit the Office of the Information Commissioner website or call 1300 363 992.

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.

Visit the National Legal Aid website.

Family Relationship Advice Line

Visit Family Relationships Online or phone 1800 050 321.

National Association of Community Legal Centres

The Community Legal Centres provide legal and related services to the public.

Visit the National Association of Community Legal Centres website.

AIFS podcasts

Leading researchers discuss significant issues affecting Australian families.

Explore our featured podcasts

AIFStv

AIFS news

Get the latest news about our publications, research and upcoming events.

Subscribe