State Legislation & Reporting - NSW
Services (formerly Department of Community Services) is responsible for overseeing and upholding child protection in NSW. Numerous Acts (laws) help
to govern and guide the process of child protection including:
- Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998
Other relevant Acts:
- Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Amendment (Parental Responsibility Contracts) Act 2006
- Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Act 2000
- Crimes Act 1900
- Commission for Children and Young People Act 1998
- The Ombudsman Act 1974
- Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)
For more information on child protection policies and procedures in NSW, visit the Community Services website.
Reporting Child Abuse
What is reportable?
Outcomes or actions from which children are in need of protection include neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional maltreatment and exposure to family violence. These are all reportable offences.
What are reasonable grounds?
You do not need to have proof to report any concerns you have about the safety of a child under 16 or a young person. Indicators that represent reasonable grounds to report a suspected offence include:
- A child or young person discloses that he or she has suffered or is suffering non accidental physical injury or sexual abuse
- Someone else advises you that a child or young person has been sexually abused or non-accidentally injured, or
- Your own observations of the child or young person’s physical condition or behaviours lead you to reasonably suspect that the child or young person has suffered or is suffering non-accidental physical injury or sexual abuse.
For more information, you can email one of our qualified staff at Child Wise at firstname.lastname@example.org
Can anyone report concerns for the safety of a child or young person?
ANY person who believes, on reasonable grounds, that a child is in need of protection may voluntarily report to Child Protection Services.
- You do not have to prove that abuse has taken place. You only need reasonable grounds for your belief.
- You do not need permission from parents or caregivers to make a report; nor do they need to be informed that a report is being made.
- If you made a report in good faith, you cannot be held legally liable - regardless of the outcome of the report.
- Your identity will remain confidential unless you need to give evidence if the matter goes to court. It is rare that this happens.
What is mandatory reporting?
Mandatory reporting describes the legal
obligation of certain professionals and community members in NSW to report
incidences of child abuse and/or neglect. These people are called mandated
reporters and they MUST report to Child Protection Services if the believe on
reasonable grounds that a child is in need of protection. Penalties may apply
to mandated reporters who fail to report suspected abuse.
Who is mandated to report suspected abuse?
Section 27(1) of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 states mandatory reporting applies to:
- a person who, in the course of his or her professional work or other paid employment delivers health care, welfare, education, children’s services, residential services, or law enforcement, wholly or partly to children, and
- a person who holds a management position in an organisation the duties of which include direct responsibility for, or direct supervision of, the provision of health care, welfare, education, children's services, residential services, or law enforcement, wholly or partly, to children.
Section 27(2) states if:
- a person who is identified as a mandated reporter has reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is at risk of harm, and
- those grounds arise during the course of or from the person's work, it is then the duty of the person to report as soon as possible, to the Secretary of the Department the name or a description of the child and the grounds for suspecting that the child is at risk of significant harm
Mandatory reporters are encouraged to use the Mandatory Reporter
Guide, to guide their decision-making and determine whether or not to
report to the Child Protection Helpline under the new risk of significant harm
reporting threshold (see for more information). The Mandatory Reporter Guide
has been developed to assist front-line mandatory reporters such as police
officers, teachers, nurses, social workers and NGO staff to determine whether a
case meets the new risk of significant harm threshold for reporting children
and young people at risk in NSW. A PDF version of the Guide is also available for those without internet access.
For more information on mandatory reporting of all state and territories, visit the Australian Institute of Family Studies website.
Who to report to and how
If you need to report an offence that requires immediate police attention, please call Police: 000
If you suspect on reasonable grounds that a child is suffering abuse or neglect or you wish to discuss your concerns about a child or young person, you should telephone:
Child Protection Helpline: 132 111 (TTY: 1800 212
936). This helpline is a 24/7 statewide call centre staffed by
professionally qualified caseworkers to receive and screen all reports.
For more information on how to make a report in NSW visit the Preventing Child Abuse & Neglect page
on the Community Services website.
National Child Abuse Helpline: 1800 99 10 99. This helpline operates Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm AEST.
There are also support services across NSW that can assist and advise you through the process of making a report. For more information, visit our Support Services page.