Mandatory reporters: What happens after I make a report?
Last published 10 Oct 2017
When the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) receives your report, we are required by law to make an assessment and determine whether the child or young person is actually at risk of significant harm.
The information you provide in a report will inform what further action is needed. Other considerations include the child or family history held by DCJ.
Talking to the child, their family and others
We assess all reports to determine the most appropriate action to ensure the safety, welfare and wellbeing of the child or young person. This might involve talking to the child or young person, their family or other important people in their life (such as relatives, teachers or child carers), or talking to people who work with the child or young person,or their family (such as counsellors, health professionals or family support workers).
Not all reports are investigated
Not all reports will lead to further assessment or investigation. This may be because there is insufficient information or reason to believe that the child or young person is at risk of significant harm. As a reporter, you will be informed about the type of action that will be taken, based on your report.
Reports made to the Child Protection Helpline are confidential and the reporter’s identity is generally protected by law. The law offers the following protections to a person who makes a report in good faith:
- making the report will not breach professional etiquette or ethics or amount to professional misconduct
- the reporter will not be liable for defamation
- the reporter is protected from civil and criminal liability
- the reporter is protected against retribution for making, or proposing to make, a report.
- except in specific, limited circumstances, the report, or its contents, is not admissible in any proceedings
- a person cannot be compelled by a court to provide the report or disclose or give evidence of any of its contents
- there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of a report t under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009.
However, current legislation allows NSW Police access to the identity of the reporter, if this is needed in connection with the investigation of a serious offence against a child or young person. The request must come from a senior law enforcement officer and the reporter must be informed that their identity is to be released – unless informing them of the disclosure will prejudice the investigation.
Feedback on your report
The Child Protection Helpline will inform you in writing whether the report you made meets the threshold of significant harm or not.