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20.25.1 'Reasonable Excuse'
What constitutes a 'reasonable excuse' (i.e. an acceptable reason for non-compliance with the requirements of a rehabilitation program) will vary in each case. It is clearly not possible for this instruction to outline what would or would not be a reasonable excuse in all circumstances. Nevertheless, note the following guidance:
- In most cases what is reasonable will be a matter of common sense given the individual facts of the case. For example a sudden death in the family, the documented lack of adequate transport or lack of timely notification may all be a reasonable excuses for not meeting an appointment.
- To be considered unreasonable, a refusal or failure to meet rehabilitation obligations (i.e. attend meetings, undertake training, persist with work placements etc.) should be systematic i.e. deliberate not merely accidental, occur on more than one occasion, and only after due warning of the consequences.
- Documented psychiatric or psychological inability to comply with direction may be considered a reasonable excuse.
Case law indicates that a failure or refusal may also be considered 'reasonable' where DVA has not communicated well. Before a client can be suspended a delegate must be satisfied that:
- the client has been advised in writing that he/she is subject to an approved rehabilitation plan, and of his/her rights and obligations under that plan
- the client has been made aware of his/her specific tasks or obligations and the consequences (suspension) of non-compliance.