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Victim Support Service parts ways with CEO after bullying claim

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The state’s Victim Support Service has severed ties with its chief executive after claims of workplace bullying were revealed by InDaily last month.

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Staff were told in an email yesterday that “the Chief Executive Julian Roffe has decided with the Board not to renew his contract with VSS”.

InDaily has been told he was given two hours to vacate the organisation’s Franklin St offices on Friday afternoon and his IT access has since been cancelled.

InDaily raised inquiries last month with VSS chairwoman Jayne Stinson – who is also the Labor Party’s candidate for the marginal seat of Badcoe – about “allegations of bullying by the chief executive” that were raised under parliamentary privilege by the Liberal Opposition.

In response, the VSS confirmed that “all Return to Work SA claims have been determined [and] one has been accepted”.

The organisation said a second claim had been rejected.

Roffe’s former deputy and client services manager Jodie Sloan is now acting as chief executive.

In an email to staff, she thanked Roffe “for his significant contribution to our organisation over three and a half years”.

“In the time he’s led VSS, the service has significantly increased in the number of client contacts we receive.

“He has successfully led our move to new office premises [and] the establishment of vital new services like our 1800 VICTIM Helpdesk,” she wrote.

“Julian moves on to the next phase of his career with the organisation’s best wishes and sincere thanks.”

It’s understood Victims’ Rights Commissioner Michael O’Connell met with Roffe in recent weeks to discuss the governance concerns highlighted by InDaily.

O’Connell said today he had conveyed to Roffe that he had no entitlement to intervene in the service’s governance issues unless they were affecting the delivery of the services for which the organisation is publicly funded.

He said he had received no complaints against VSS regarding its service delivery.

He has undertaken to meet with VSS staff to detail his role and function, and explain their service delivery obligations. It’s expected this briefing will still go ahead next month.

Roffe did not return calls from InDaily today.

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