Mandatory reporters: What happens after I make a report?
When 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 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:
- the report shall not be held to be a breach of professional etiquette or ethics or a departure from accepted standards of professional conduct
- no liability for defamation can be incurred because of the making of the report
- the report, or its contents, is not admissible in any proceedings as evidence against the person who made the report
- a person cannot be compelled by a court to provide the report or give any evidence as to its contents
- a report is an exempt document under the Freedom of Information Act 1989.
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.
DCJ recognises that mandated reporters often have an ongoing service role with the children, young people or families that they have reported to the helpline.