Duty of Care

What is Duty of Care?

Duty of Care is a responsibility to act in a manner that does not cause any harm or loss to that person. Support workers have a Duty of Care to the person they are working with, other staff members in the workplace and in some instances the public. Duty of Care is established by a support workers position description.

Parents owe a duty of care to their children. If you stop to offer assistance to an injured person you then owe a Duty of Care to that person.

What standard of care is expected?

The standard of care expected is measured by what a reasonable person would do in similar circumstances. The standard of care also varies according to how reliant a person is on your care. The more reliant they are the higher the standard of care.

What is negligence?

Negligence is when the person who you owe a duty of care suffers harm or loss due to your action or inaction.

For negligence to be proven four things need to be established:

  • You owed a Duty of Care to the person
  • You failed to meet the standard of care expected according to what would be expected of a reasonable person in the same circumstance.
  • Some injury or loss was sustained
  • There is an identified like between your action or inaction and the injury or loss.

It is important to note that negligence can occur from the things we do as well as the things we fail to do.

Dignity of risk?

Dignity of Risk refers to the right of all people to undertake some tasks that have a level of risk. It can be risky to go surfing as accidents can occur, but if you are a good swimmer, surf with a friend and check surfing conditions it is a reasonable risk to take.

Often people with a disability are denied the opportunity to experience things other people of their age, who are not disabled experience. This may be because it is feared they will hurt themselves or because their carers are uncertain of their responsibilities.

Further Information