Reporting Abuse and Neglect: State and Territory Departments Responsible for Protecting Children.

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.

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(link is external)

Ph: 13 22 81

Care and Protection Services (link is external) are 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)(link is external)

Mandated reporters
Ph: 1300 556 728
Email: Child Protection Reports(link sends e-mail)General public
Ph: 1300 556 729
New South Wales
Reporting authority Further services / information Contact details

Department of Family and Community Services(link is external)

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 webpage: Reporting Suspected Abuse or Neglect(link is external)

Resources for mandatory reporters(link is external)

Child Protection Helpline
Ph: 13 21 11 (TTY 1800 212 936)Non-imminent reports can also be made usingeReporting(link is external)

For urgent reports, mandatory reporters should phone 13 36 27

Northern Territory
Reporting authority Further services / information Contact details

Department of Children and Families(link is external)

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)(link is external)

For further information about the process of reporting concerns about a child’s welfare in the NT refer to theChild Abuse page (link is external) 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(link is external)

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 theReporting Child Abuse(link is external) page of the department’s website.

Who are mandatory reporters in QLD?(link is external)

For a list of contact numbers during business hours, go to: Regional Intake Services(link is external)

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(link is external)

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 webpage: Protecting Children(link is external) Child Abuse Report Line
Ph: 13 14 78After hours crisis care
Ph: 13 16 11

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

Tasmania
Reporting authority Further services / information Contact details

Department of Health and Human Services(link is external)

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 webpage: Child Protection Services(link is external)

Information about mandatory reporting can be found in the Department’s Information sheet: Responsibilities of Mandatory Reporters (PDF 89 KB) (link is external)

24 hour contact number: 1300 737 639

Report child abuse online(link is external)

Victoria
Reporting authority Further services / information Contact details
Department of Human Services(link is external)

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 webpage: Child Protection(link is external)

Child Protection Crisis Line (urgent concerns)
Ph: 13 12 78For a list of regional and metropolitan phone numbers, go to: Child Protection Contacts(link is external)
Western Australia
Reporting authority Further services / information Contact details

Department for Child Protection and Family Support(link is external)

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 webpage: If You are Concerned about a Child(link is external)

Who are mandatory reporters in WA?(link is external)

Ph: (08) 9222 2555 or
Country Freecall: 1800 622 258After hours:
Ph: (08) 9223 1111 or
Country Freecall: 1800 199 008

If you are a mandatory reporter
Ph: 1800 708 704

Download and complete a Mandatory Reporting Form (PDF 237 KB)(link is external)

Acknowledgements

This paper was updated in December 2014 by Kathryn Goldsworthy, 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 Rose Babic, Shaun Lohoar, Kate Rosier and Debbie Scott.

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