Not sure where to report your child protection concerns?
In Australia, it can be confusing for a person to know where to report the concerns they have for the welfare and wellbeing of a child that may be experiencing significant abuse or neglect. This is because in Australia, the state and territory governments hold the responsibility for receiving and acting on child protection reports. In simple terms, this means that anyone who holds a reasonable suspicion that a child is being, has been or is at unacceptable risk of abuse or neglect, should report their concerns to the appropriate agency in their state and territory.
Additionally, each state and territory have groups or a list of professionals which have a legal obligation to report their suspicions. These people are called Mandatory Notifiers. Again, it can be difficult to know your status as a Mandatory Notifier since this is also managed by state and territory governments. Not only do the groups and professionals that are considered Mandatory Notifiers change by state and territory, but so too do the types of abuse and neglect which they legally must report. To help with this, Child Family Community Australia has developed a Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect factsheet. However, it is important to remember that even if you are not regarded as a Mandatory Notifier, you may have an organisational and ethical obligation to report your concerns.
Once you have decided that a report needs to be made, the second step is to determine where that report needs to be made. Each state and territory have an ‘intake’ process to receive welfare concerns for children from the general public. Child Family Community Australia have recently updated their factsheet Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect: Information for Service Providers to make this task easier. Despite being aimed at service providers, the factsheet is accessible and useful to anyone that holds concerns for the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.
The factsheet is broken down by state and territory. It provides the name of the agency responsible for receiving concerns, additional information about the agency including links to information about Mandatory Notifiers in that jurisdiction, and contact details for the agency to make a report. The contact information is especially useful as it highlights in some states and territories that reports can be made in multiple ways, such as over the phone or online. It is important to remember that all serious concerns should be reported by phone.
If you suspect that a child or young person is at imminent risk of life-threatening harm, call 000 for an immediate response.