Volunteers Urged to Register Rights Violations
23 April 2013 at 11:26 am
Volunteers across Australia are being urged to register rights violations or inappropriate treatment with their state-based peak body, to be added to a national database to develop a clear picture of issues affecting volunteers.
Volunteering Tasmania CEO Adrienne Picone said the development of the register followed a Volunteer Rights Inquiry conducted in the UK, which found a pattern of breaches of trust between volunteers and volunteer involving organisations.
“A working group comprising of all state volunteer peak organisations, Volunteering Australia and volunteer resource centres has been established to determine whether there are similar issues affecting volunteer rights here in Australia, as have been revealed in the UK,” Picone said.
“This working group is collecting information on issues affecting volunteer rights and the management of complaints made by them.
“There is certainly a growing interest in the area of volunteer rights, with debate around whether volunteers should have formal rights similar to paid employees, what happens when things go wrong and what recourse do volunteers have to address issues?
“This is a really positive move for volunteers who play a vital role in our local communities. In Tasmania alone we have 158,000 volunteers, giving more than 49,000 hours on any given day to around 5,000 organisations across the State.”
Picone said Volunteering Tasmania occasionally came across stories of volunteers being treated unfairly in Tasmania, but more often than not, these volunteers simply talked with their feet rather than going public.
“They might leave the organisation and potentially volunteering all together rather than having the issue addressed,” she said.
“They may also talk to their friends, and the ripple effect of these untold stories is felt right across the volunteering community.”
As a member of the Australian working group, Volunteering Tasmania is seeking assistance with data collection and is urging people to come forward with information about issues experienced by volunteers.
Any information registered will be de-identified and strictly confidential and can be submitted up until May 31, 2013.
Those wishing to find out more or to register their information relating to any issues experienced by volunteers are asked to contact Volunteering Tasmania on (03) 6231 5550 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.