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One of the main responsibilities of a parent is to ensure their children are safe. Causing harm or putting children or young people at risk of harm is against the law.

Each Australian state and territory has its own laws to keep children safe. In New South Wales, that law is the Children and Young Person (Care and Protection) Act 1998 and Communities and Justice (DCJ) is the main government department that puts this law into practice.

However, protecting children from harm is a shared duty with all government departments and the wider community. The law says that DCJ can be called by anyone in the community who thinks a child or young person is at risk of harm. When DCJ gets a report that a child or young person may be at risk, it has the responsibility to establish whether the report is right and to take action where needed.

If you think a child or young person is at risk of harm from abuse or neglect, contact the Child Protection Helpline on 13 21 11. The helpline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and staffed by qualified caseworkers.

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Last updated: 20 Mar 2023