Safe Ministry Resources
HELPLINE 1800 070 511
Safe Ministry Resources
HELPLINE 1800 070 511
Safe Ministry Resources
HELPLINE 1800 070 511

CHILD PROTECTION REPORTING

Reporting concerns about children, in line with Australian legislation and to meet your obligations, can be complex.

Depending on where you are in Australia, there are up to four types of reporting that may be required.

Remember that Reporting is only one part of our response when we have concerns.  Your church or organisation will also have pastoral and risk management considerations to implement, as well as reporting responsibilities.

Click on the 4 sections of infographic to learn more about reporting
in your jurisdiction
.

POLICE

Reporting knowledge of criminal activity is an important part of acting justly. In each state/territory there are different requirements for reporting. The focus of reporting to the police is on justice, i.e. crime and punishment. The Crimes Act, or equivalent, in each state or territory provides the basis upon which police have powers to prosecute those who have perpetrated crimes.

If you are unsure of required police reporting concerning child protection in your state or territory, contact your organisation’s Safe Ministry or Safe Church Contact Person.

In all states and territories, you can contact the police via:

Policelink 13 14 44
Crimestoppers

Specific examples of child protection reporting to the police are in the state/territory specific links below current at 31 March 2020.

New South Wales

In the NSW Crimes Act 1900 (click here then scroll the left hand column on the website site for the appropriate sections) there is both a general concealment offence, Concealment of Serious Crime, Section 316, and a specific Failure to Report Child Abuse to the Police offence, Section 316A.

The Crimes Act also includes an offence for failing to protect a child from abuse (Section 43B).

summary of laws about protecting children in NSW

Australian Capital Territory

In 2019 the ACT added Section 66AA to the Crimes Act 1900, Failure to Report Child Sexual Offence, which applies to persons in authority in educational and other institutions in relation to Failure to Report Sexual Abuse to the Police of children under 16 years. 

Summary of Laws about protecting children in ACT

Child Protection Web Links

ACT - Child & Youth Protection Services
NSW - Department of Communities & Justice
NT - Child Abuse Hotline
QLD - Department of Child Safety, Youth & Women
SA - Department for Child Protection
TAS - Department of Health
VIC - Department of Health & Human Services
WA - Department of Communities Child Protection & family support

RISK OF HARM

Mandatory & Voluntary Reporting

“Australian – Federal, State and Territory Governments are responsible for receiving reports of suspected child abuse and neglect from members of the public. Reporting child abuse and neglect is a community-wide responsibility.

Anyone who suspects, on reasonable grounds, that a child or young person is at risk of being abused and/or neglected should report it to the reporting authority in their state or territory.

Certain groups of people are required by law to report any suspicion of abuse or neglect of a child or young person to government authorities. Further information and guidelines regarding mandatory reporting can be found in the CFCA Resource Sheet: Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect.” (Source:aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/cfca-resource-sheet/reporting-child-abuse-and-neglect).

Remember that the focus of Risk of Harm (or ‘Risk of Significant Harm’ in NSW) reporting is child safety, so whether you are mandated by law or not, you can report to the relevant state/territory government Child Protection agency or department. A good resource for reporting requirements is the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

CFCA Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect Resource Sheet June 2020

REPORTABLE CONDUCT

There are currently (July 2020) three jurisdictions in Australia that operate Reportable Conduct Schemes:

Reportable conduct includes sexual offences, sexual misconduct, neglect, ill-treatment, emotional harm, and physical assault of a child by a worker.  

These are schemes whereby the government has scrutiny over the internal organisational investigation processes into allegations against those who work with children and young people. The operators of the scheme also have scrutiny over organisations’ systems to prevent, detect and respond to reportable conduct.

The focus of the scheme is to ensure thorough investigation of all complaints against those who work with children. In all three jurisdictions adverse findings of reportable conduct can impact upon a person’s Working with Children Check or, in the ACT, Working with Vulnerable Persons Check.

There are strict reporting requirements for the organisation before, during and at the completion of the investigation process.

For more information click on these links

Victoria - Commission for Children & Young People
NSW - Office of the Children’s Guardian
ACT - Ombudsman

ORGANISATIONAL REPORTING

Reporting Child Protection and other Safe Ministry concerns to your organisation (denomination/movement) is essential for assistance with  implementation of internal organisational policy and procedures, and also for assistance with pastoral and risk management action planning.

Organisational response to complaints processes need to take into account a ‘child focused’ approach.

To report to your denomination/organisation or movement click on their logo.

Safe Ministry Resources can also provide customisation services to your organisation for the implementation of the Safe Community Framework.

The Safe Ministry/Community Framework is developed and owned by Safe Ministry Resources Pty Ltd. It is freely available to organisations to use and adapt with permission. Please contact us at [email protected] to seek permission. 

Disclaimer: These publications are not legal advice. The ideas and procedures herein are based on nationally recognised good practice advice and have been written with due regard to Australian legislation March 2020.  Legal advice may need to be sought when responding to individual incidents.

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