State Legislation & Reporting - WA
The Department for Child Protection
and Family Support is responsible for overseeing and upholding child
protection in Western Australia. Numerous Acts (laws) help to govern and guide
the process of child protection. These Acts include:
- Children and Community Services Act 2004 (as amended in 2011)
- Children and Community Services Amendment (Reporting Sexual Abuse of Children) Act 2008 (from 1 January 2009, these mandatory reporting provisions will become a part of the Children and Community Services Act 2004)
Other relevant Acts:
- Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004
- Family Court Act 1997
- Adoption Act 1994
- Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)
To see other laws and acts relevant to children, youth and families please see the Legislation section of the Department for Child Protection and Family Support website for more information.
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
What are reasonable grounds?
You do not need to have proof to report any concerns you have about the safety of a child or 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 persons 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 email@example.com
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 to report incidences of child sexual abuse. These people are called "mandated reporters" and they MUST report to Child Protection Services if they believe on reasonable grounds that a child is in need of protection. Penalties may apply to mandated reporters who fail to report suspected abuse.
more information on mandatory reporting of all state and territories, visit
the Australian Institute of Family Studies website
Who is mandated to report suspected abuse?
The Children and Community Services Act 2004 states that any of the following persons are mandated to report all reasonable beliefs of child sexual abuse:
- Nurses and midwives
- Police officers
- Boarding supervisors
The Family Court Act 1997 states that any of the
following persons are mandated to report all reasonable suspicions that a child
has been, or is at risk of being abused, neglected or subjected to behaviour
that may be or is psychologically harmful
- Court personnel
- Family counselors
- Family dispute resolution practitioners
- Arbitrators or legal practitioners independently representing the child's interests.
For more information on mandatory reporting and
how to lodge a report visit the Mandatory Reporting
in Western Australia page of the Department for Child Protection’s website or call the Mandatory Reporting Service:
1800 708 704. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Who to report to and how
If you need to report a life-threatening offence that requires immediate police attention, please call Western Australia Police: 000. For police assistance and attendance call 131 444.
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:
Department for Child Protection and Family Support: (08) 9222 2555 or 1800 622 258 or contact your local district office.
Crisis Care: 1800 199 008 or 08 9223 1111. This hotline operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
National Child Abuse Helpline: 1800 99 10 99. This helpline operates Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm AEST.
There are also support services across Western Australia that can assist and advise you through the process of making a report. For more information, visit our Support Services page.