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.
Safeguards for reporters
Section 29 of the Care Act provides protections for people who make reports to DCJ, a CWU, or to a person who has the power or responsibility to protect the child or class of children. Reports to the Helpline are confidential and are only shared with other agencies when this information sharing is permitted by law.
The reporter’s identity (if known), or information from which the identity of that person could be deduced, cannot be disclosed except with the:
- consent of the person
- leave of a court dealing with proceedings relating to the report.
There are also exceptions for disclosing a reporter’s identity to law enforcement agencies in very limited circumstances (section 29(4A), (4B) and (4C)).
If a report is made in good faith, reporters are protected from liability for defamation, and civil and criminal liability.
The making of a report does not constitute a breach of professional ethics or amount to unprofessional conduct.
Reporters are protected against retribution for making, or proposing to make, a report (section 29AB).