The ‘4As’ of complaint resolution are the positive outcomes that can result from people’s complaints about Victorian public mental health services. The 4As are:

  1. Acknowledgement of a person’s experience.
  2. Answers or explanations about the complaint issues.
  3. Actions taken because of the complaint.
  4. Apology for the person’s experience.


People want their concerns to be heard and acknowledged and the impact of their experience to be recognised and understood. Acknowledgement of their rights and what should have occurred in a situation can also be important.


People are usually looking for an explanation as to why something happened or did not happen, or why a certain decision was made. For answers to be meaningful, they need to be provided in a way that can be readily understood by the person, and that encourages the person to ask further questions if needed.


People will generally be seeking action to address their individual issue or a change to be made to improve their experience and treatment. Many people also make a complaint because they do not want a recurrence of the issue for themselves or for others and because they want services to take actions to achieve this.


A meaningful apology usually involves acknowledgement, answers and actions by a service and, where appropriate, can assist in a person’s recovery and help to restore their confidence in the service.

Reviewed 09 April 2021

Mental Health Complaints Commissioner (MHCC)

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