Ageing, Disability & Home Care

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Reporting child abuse and neglect

Certain groups of people are required by law to report to Community Services if they suspect (using their professional judgment and training), on reasonable grounds, that a child or young person is at risk of significant harm.

If you are a mandatory reporter, you can call the Child Protection Helpline on 133 627.

If waiting times exceed five minutes, or if you are prevented from using a phone, you may use the Risk of significant harm report fax form instead.

Members of the general public should call 132 111.

Who are mandatory reporters?

Mandatory reporters are defined in NSW legislation. They are those who deliver the following services to children as part of their paid or professional work:

  • health care - doctors, nurses, dentists and other health workers
  • welfare - psychologists, social workers and youth workers
  • education - teachers
  • children’s services - child care workers, family day carers and home based carers
  • residential services - refuge workers, community housing providers
  • law enforcement - police

Any person with direct responsibility to provide the above mentioned services must report risk of significant harm to children.

Managers, including both paid employees and volunteers, who supervise direct services are also mandated to report.

Mandatory reporters are not obliged to report risk of significant harm to unborn children or young people (those aged 16-17 years). However they are encouraged to make a report if it is appropriate.

While the legal obligation to report significant harm remains, the penalty applying to mandatory reporters who fail to report concerns about risk of harm has been removed from the legislation since 24 January 2010.

Mandatory Reporter Guide

A Mandatory Reporter Guide has been developed to help both mandatory and non mandatory reporters decide whether a concern meets the statutory threshold for reporting risk of significant harm.

Mandatory reporters are encouraged to use the Mandatory Reporter Guide to guide their decision making, such as whether or not to report to the Child Protection Helpline.

See more about the Mandatory Reporter Guide, when and how to make a mandatory report, and what happens when you make a report.

Further information

For more information, visit the Keep Them Safe website.

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