reporting suspected abuse or neglect
Anyone who suspects, on reasonable grounds, that a child or young person is at risk of being neglected or physically, sexually or emotionally abused, should report it to Community Services.
Reasonable grounds is the standard that reporters must use in deciding whether or not to report to Community Services.
It does not mean that reporters are required to confirm their suspicions or provide solid proof before making a report. A useful rule of thumb is to consider whether another person, when faced with similar information, would also draw the same conclusion.
You can make a report by phoning the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111 (TTY 1800 212 936) for the cost of a local call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
what will Community Services do?
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. When you report to us, our staff will ask you questions to help them find out about the risk of significant harm to the child or children involved.
What happens next depends on the information received by Community Services. The matter might be closed as no risk of significant harm is indicated or we may ask a local Community Services Centre to make further assessment.
Sometimes the child and family is visited immediately because the information indicates the child is in immediate danger.
We may need to talk to other people to find out about the family’s circumstances. For example, we might contact the child’s teacher, child care worker or relatives.
The law allows Community Services to exchange information that relates to the safety, welfare or wellbeing of a child or young person with a range of agencies, including NSW Police, NSW Health or the Department of Education.
If the child or young person is at risk of harm, we try to work with the family, other agencies and professionals to make sure they are safe. If we think a child is in immediate danger, we will move them to a safe place. We involve the child or young person and their family as much as possible in decisions that affect them.