Resources for mandatory reporters

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Mandatory reporters are required by law to report to Family and Community Services if they suspect that a child is at risk of significant harm.

There are a variety of ways in which you can make a suspected risk of significant harm report to the Child Protection Helpline – see how to make a report?

Who are mandatory reporters?

Mandatory reporting is the legislative requirement for selected classes of people to report suspected child abuse and neglect to government authorities. Mandatory reporters are defined under section 27 of the Care Act.

Mandatory reporters are guided by the NSW Mandatory Reporter Guide. In NSW, mandatory reporting is regulated by the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998  (the Care Act).

Mandatory reporters are people who deliver the following services, wholly or partly, to children as part of their paid or professional work:

  • Health care (e.g. registered medical practitioners, specialists, general practice nurses, midwives, occupational therapists, speech therapists, psychologists, dentists and other allied health professionals working in sole practice or in public or private health practices) 
  • Welfare (e.g. psychologists, social workers, caseworkers and youth workers)
  • Education (e.g. teachers, counsellors, principals)
  • Children’s services (e.g. child care workers, family day carers and home-based carers)
  • Residential services (e.g. refuge workers)
  • Law enforcement (e.g. police)

Mandatory reporters should note that the legislation requires that they continue to respond to the needs of the child or young person (within the terms of their work role) even after a report to the Child Protection Helpline has been made (s.29A of the Care Act).

Note that while it is mandatory to report children aged 0-15 years at risk of significant harm, it is not mandatory to report young people aged 16-17 years or unborn children. Professional judgement should be used in deciding whether concerns about the safety, welfare or wellbeing of an unborn child or a young person warrant a report to the Child Protection Helpline.

To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111 (24 hours/7 days)