Reporting and responding to child wellbeing and safety concerns
Protecting children from harm is a responsibility shared by everyone in the community. Making a report about suspected child abuse or neglect is an important part of this responsibility.
Responding to child wellbeing and safety concerns
What happens when a report is received by DCJ?
Reports received by DCJ are assessed by practitioners to determine whether the information meets the ROSH threshold.
When a report is assessed by the Helpline as reaching the ROSH threshold, it will be forwarded to a Community Services Centre or the Joint Referral Unit for further assessment in circumstances where the report appears to include allegations of sexual abuse, serious physical abuse or serious neglect.
Information about how DCJ assesses and responds to reports is included in Chapter 7.
The diagram below shows this process.
A text alternative to the Reporting Pathway diagram is available.
Feedback to mandatory reporters
The Helpline aims to provide written feedback to mandatory reporters who have made a report via phone.
Reporters who have made a report via the ChildStory reporter website are able to obtain status updates about the progress of their report via the ChildStory community portal.
The e-report feedback will include details on whether a report about a child met the statutory ROSH threshold and the assessment outcome.
What else can reporters do to support families?
Supportive interventions to reduce risk to the child are encouraged and not prevented by the making of a report. This is embedded within section 29A of the Care Act. Consider alternative sources of support to assist families who would benefit from accessing support to address their current circumstances. Some of the steps you might take are outlined below:
- Support the child yourself within your role - Consider what additional steps your service can take, including whether your service is best placed to discuss your concerns with the family and whether your service can offer to provide additional interventions or change your current interventions to further address risk factors.
- Find other supports for the child and their family - Explore appropriate support services for the child and their family. The following options may assist you:
- If you work within an agency that has a Child Wellbeing Unit, they can be called to get advice about referral pathways. Call Health CWU on 1300 480 420, Police CWU on 131 444 or Education CWU (private number). Staff within these agencies can also contact their CWU via eReporting through the Mandatory Reporter Guide.
- Contact your local Family Connect and Support if you would like help referring the family or child to local support services such as housing or respite services.
- Visit the Human Services Network website to access a broad range of services.
- Education staff working for non-government schools should contact the Association of Independent Schools or Catholic Schools NSW. Catholic system reporters can seek assistance from their Diocesan office or local Catholic schools authority.
- Sharing information with other practitioners - The key principles of information sharing recognise the importance of collaboration, and that agencies with responsibilities relating to the safety, welfare or wellbeing of children should be able to share relevant information.
Chapter 16A of the Care Act allows exchange of information relating to a child or young person’s safety, welfare or wellbeing. This applies whether or not the child or young person is known to DCJ, and whether or not the person to whom the information relates consents to the information exchange.
Further information about information sharing is available in Part 4 and on the DCJ website
- Document your client contact - Document all client contact in accordance with your organisation’s policy and procedures.