Reporting abuse and neglect

Reporting abuse and neglect

State and territory departments responsible for protecting children

CFCA Resource Sheet— April 2016
Reporting abuse and neglect

If you require assistance or would like to talk to a trained professional about the issues described in this paper, please call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

If you believe a child is in immediate danger call Police on 000.

This resource sheet provides information about how to report suspected child abuse or neglect.

In Australia, state and territory governments are responsible for receiving reports of suspected child abuse and neglect from members of the public. 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 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. Further guidelines regarding mandatory reporting can be found in Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Defining child maltreatment, abuse and neglect

Child abuse and neglect refers to any behaviour by parents, caregivers, other adults or older adolescents that is outside the norms of conduct and entails a substantial risk of causing physical or emotional harm to a child or young person. Such behaviours may be intentional or unintentional and can include acts of omission (i.e., neglect) and commission (i.e., abuse).

Child maltreatment is commonly divided into five subtypes:

  • physical abuse;
  • emotional maltreatment; 
  • neglect; 
  • sexual abuse; and 
  • the witnessing of family violence.

For further information see What is Child Abuse and Neglect?

Contact details for each state and territory

Please note that you do not need to be absolutely certain that abuse or neglect of a child has occurred to call these authorities. If you suspect a child is at risk of harm, you may call the authority to discuss your concerns and they will decide whether an investigation is required.

Australian Capital Territory

Reporting authority

Further services / information

Contact details

Office for Children, Youth and Family Support

Ph: 13 22 81

Child and Youth Protection Services  is responsible for facilitating coordination across government for the care and protection of children and young people.

If you are concerned about a child and want further information on mandatory reporting, refer to Keeping Children and Young People Safe (PDF 2.1 MB)

Mandated reporters 
Ph: 1300 556 728
Email: Child Protection Reports

General public
Ph: 1300 556 729

New South Wales

Reporting authority

Further services / information

Contact details

Department of Family and Community Services

Ph: (02) 9716 2222

By law, Community Services must assess reports where a child or young person is or may be at risk of significant harm from abuse or neglect. Information about the process of reporting child welfare concerns in NSW can be found on the department’s Reporting Suspected Abuse or Neglect website.

Resources for mandatory reporters

Child Protection Helpline
Ph: 13 21 11 (TTY 1800 212 936)

Non-imminent reports can also be made using eReporting

For urgent reports, mandatory reporters should phone 13 36 27

Northern Territory

Reporting authority

Further services / information

Contact details

Department of Children and Families

Ph: (08) 8999 2737

In the Northern Territory every person is required to report suspected child abuse and neglect. Information specific to health practitioners can be found in Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect: Information for Professionals (PDF 689 KB)

For further information about the process of reporting concerns about a child's welfare in the NT refer to the Child Abuse page  of the department's website.

Child Protection Hotline
Ph: 1800 700 250 (24 hours)

Queensland

Reporting authority

Further services / information

Contact details

Department of Communities Child Safety and Disability Services

Ph: (07) 3224 8045

Child Safety Services is the lead child protection agency in QLD. For information about the process of reporting concerns about a child's welfare in QLD refer to the Reporting Child Abuse page of the department's website.

Who are mandatory reporters in QLD?

For a list of contact numbers during business hours, go to: Regional Intake Services

To locate your nearest Child Safety Service Centre, Ph: 1800 811 810

Child Safety After Hours Service Centre
Ph: 1800 177 135

South Australia

Reporting authority

Further services / information

Contact details

Department for Education and Child Development

Ph: (08) 8124 4185

The primary area of concern for Families SA is the protection of children. For information about SA mandatory reporting requirements and the process of reporting concerns about a child's welfare, refer to the department’s Protecting Children webpage.

Child Abuse Report Line
Ph: 13 14 78

After hours crisis care
Ph: 13 16 11

Report child abuse online
See: New users instructions to register and prepare to use the system  (PDF 274 KB)

Tasmania

Reporting authority

Further services / information

Contact details

Department of Health and Human Services

Ph: 1300 135 513

The role of Child Protection Services is to protect children and young people who are at risk of abuse or neglect.

For information about the process of reporting concerns about a child's welfare in TAS refer to the department’s Child Protection Services webpage.

Information about mandatory reporting can be found in the department’s information sheet: Responsibilities of Mandatory Reporters (PDF 89 KB)

24 hour contact number: 1300 737 639

Report child abuse online

Victoria

Reporting authority

Further services / information

Contact details

Department of Human Services

The Child Protection Service is specifically targeted to those children and young people at risk of significant harm.

For information about child protection and mandatory reporting requirements in Victoria, refer to the department’s Child Protection webpage.

Child Protection Crisis Line (urgent concerns)
Ph: 13 12 78

For a list of regional and metropolitan phone numbers, go to: Child Protection Contacts

Western Australia

Reporting authority

Further services / information

Contact details

Department for Child Protection and Family Support

Ph: (08) 9222 2555

TTY: (08) 9325 1232

The Department for Child Protection and Family Support offers a range of services to support children and families.

For further information about the process of reporting concerns about a child's welfare refer to the department’s If You are Concerned about a Child webpage.

Who are mandatory reporters in WA?

Ph: (08) 9222 2555 or
Country Freecall: 1800 622 258

After hours:
Ph: (08) 9223 1111 or
Country Freecall: 1800 199 008

If you are a mandatory reporter
Ph: 1800 708 704

Lodge a written mandatory report online using the department's secure Mandatory Reporting Web System or download and complete a Mandatory Reporting Form (PDF 237 KB)

Authors and Acknowledgements

This paper was updated April 2016 by Lucy Ockenden, Communications and Research Officer with the Child Family Community Australia information exchange at the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Previous editions of this paper were compiled by Kathryn Goldsworthy, Rose Babic, Shaun Lohoar, Kate Rosier and Debbie Scott.

The feature image is by Jessica, CC BY-NC 2.0.

Publication details

CFCA Resource Sheet
Published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, April 2016.

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