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State Legislation & Reporting - VIC 

 

Local Legislation


The  Department of Human Services  is responsible for overseeing and upholding child protection in Victoria. Numerous Acts (laws) help to govern and guide the process of child protection in Victoria These acts include:

Principal Acts:

 

Other relevant Acts:

 

To see other laws and acts relevant to children, youth and families please see the   Policies, Guidelines & Legislation page on the Department of Human Services website for more information.


New  Victorian  Child  Safe  Standards  were introduced on 1 January 2016 and come into effect on 1 January 2017. For information on  the  Child Safe Standards, visit the Department of Human Services website.

 

For a useful overview of all issues relating to child sexual abuse and child protection mechanisms in Victoria, see        Protecting the Safety and Wellbeing of Children and Young people, a report released in 2010 by the Department of Human Services and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

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 17. 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    helpline@childwise.org.au

 

Additionally, the Department of Human Services Child Protection in conjunction with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development have also provided a step-by-step guide to making a report. View the guide  here

 

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 need to prove that abuse or neglect 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.
  • I f 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 and who is mandated to report suspected abuse?

 

Mandatory reporting describes the legal obligation of certain professionals and community members in Victoria to report incidences of child sexual abuse and/or child physical abuse. These people are called mandated reporters; if a mandated reporter believes on reasonable grounds that a child has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm as a result of physical injury or sexual abuse then they have a legal obligation to report.

Section 182 (1) of the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005(as amended in 2011) lists the following people as mandated to report:

  • registered medical practitioner
  • nurse
  • midwife
  • person who is registered as a teacher under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 or has been granted permission to teach under the Act
  • the principal of a Government school or non-Government school within the meaning of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006
  • member of the police force

 

For more information on mandatory reporting of all state and territories, visit the    Australian Institute of Family Studies website


Failure to Disclose

 

The Failure to Disclose offence was introduced in 2014. The law maintains that reporting child sexual abuse is a community-wide responsibility; there is now a criminal offence in Victoria that imposes a clear legal duty upon all adults to report information about child sexual abuse to police.

 

Any adult who forms a reasonable belief that a sexual offence has been committed by an adult against a child under 16 has an obligation to report that information to police. Click  here for more information on the Failure to Disclose offence.

 

Who to report to and how


If you need to report an offence that requires immediate police attention, please call  Victoria 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:

 

Your local  Child Protection office, click  here for further information and contact numbers. 


Child Protection Crisis Line:    131 278. This is an emergency service after-hours line. Opening hours: 5pm- 9am, Monday- Friday. During Saturday, Sunday and public holidays the line is open 24 hours.

National Child Abuse Helpline: 1800 99 10 99. This helpline operates  Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm AEST. 

There are also support services across Victoria that can assist and advise you through the process of making a report. For more information, visit our     Support Services page.

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