The Department of Human Services is responsible for overseeing and upholding child protection in Victoria. Numerous Acts (laws) help to govern and guide the process of child protection in Victoria. These acts include:
- Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (as amended 2011)
Other relevant Acts:
- Working with Children Act
- Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005
- The Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006
- Family Law Act 1975
For a useful overview of all issues relating to child sexual abuse and child protection mechanisms in VIC, see Protecting the Safety and Wellbeing of Children and Young people, a report released in 2010 by the Department of Human Services and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.
Reporting Child Abuse
What is reportable?
Outcomes or actions from which children are in need of protection include; neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence and psychological harm. These are all reportable offences.
What are reasonable grounds?
You do not need to have proof to report any concerns you have about the safety of a child under 16. Indicators that represent reasonable grounds to report a suspected offence include:
- A child or young person discloses that he or she has suffered or is suffering non accidental physical injury or sexual abuse
- Someone else advises you that a child or young person has been sexually abused or non-accidentally injured, or
- Your own observations of the child or young person’s physical condition or behaviours lead you to reasonably suspect that the child or young person has suffered or is suffering non-accidental physical injury or sexual abuse.
Additionally, the Department of Human Services Child Protection in conjunction with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development have also provided a step-by-step guide to making a report. The report can be found on their website by clicking here.
What is mandatory reporting and who is mandated to report suspected abuse?
Mandatory reporting describes the legal obligation of certain professionals and community members to report incidences of child sexual abuse. These people are called mandated reporters. If the mandated reporters fail to report they may be fined and/or incarcerated.
Section 182 (1) of the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005(as amended in 2011) lists the following people as mandated to report:
- registered medical practitioner
- a nurse
- a midwife
- a person who is registered as a teacher under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 or has been granted permission to teach under the Act
- the principal of a Government school or non-Government school within the meaning of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006
- a member of the police force
For more information on mandatory reporting of all state and territories go to http://www.aifs.gov.au/nch/pubs/sheets/rs3/rs3.html
Who to report to and how
If you need to report an offence that requires immediate police attention, please call
If you suspect on reasonable grounds that a child is suffering abuse or neglect or you wish to discuss your concerns about a child or young person, you should telephone
Child Protection Crisis Line:
131 278 (24hrs, 7 days a week, toll free)
For a list of Child Protection regional office and their contact details click here.
Child FIRST (Child & Family Information, Referral & Support Teams): Find your local contact here.
There are also Support Services across Victoria that can assist and advise you through the process of making a report, and beyond.
Support Services Directory
- Child Protection Services & Police
- Legal Services
- Sexual Assault Services
- Domestic Violence
- Men's Services
- Crisis/Housing Services
Child Protection Services & Police
Department of Human Services www.dhs.vic.gov.au/childprotection
Child Protection Crisis Line: 131 278
Eastern Metro Region 1300 360 391
North & West Region 1300 664 977
Southern Metro Region 1300 655 795
Child FIRST: a detailed list of all local contacts can be found on the DHS website here.
Victoria Police 03 9247 6666 www.police.vic.gov.au
Sexual Crimes Squad 03 9865 2764
Computer crimes 03 96118860
Royal Melbourne Hospital 9342 7000
The Alfred Hospital 9276 2000
The Royal Children's Hospital 9345 5522
Fitzroy Legal Service 9419 3744
Victoria Legal Aid 9269 0120 (within Melbourne) or 1800 677 402 (Rural Areas)
Family Mediation Centres 9556 5333
Federation of Community Legal Centres www.communitylaw.org.au
National Association of Community Legal Centres www.naclc.org.au
Justice Journey www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au
An online pathway through the NSW court system for victims and other witnesses. The information although specific to NSW is useful wherever you are in Australia. The site can help by giving you information about the legal process and letting you know what to expect in court. It is a child and parent friendly resource.
Australian Institute of Criminology www.aic.gov.au
Ombudsman - for complaints against Government authorities
1800 806 314 or (03) 9613 6222 www.comb.gov.au/
Lifeline 13 11 14
Parentline VIC (0-24 years) 13 22 89
Kids Help Line 1800 551 800 www.kidshelp.com.au
Australian Community Support Organisation: Community Offenders Advice & Treatment Service
(03) 9320 4000 www.acso.com.au
Bouverie Centre (03) 9376 9844 www.latrobe.edu.au/bouverie
Office of Child Safety (03) 8601 5884
Australian Childhood Foundation 1800 176 453 or 9874 3922
WIRE 1300 134 130 www.wire.org.au
Relationships Australia 1300 364 277 or (03) 9261-8700
Sexual Assault Services
Sexual Assault Crisis Line 1800 806 292 (24 hours)
National Crime Prevention Sexual Assault Services
Country VIC (24 Hours) 1800 806 292
CASA (Centre Against Sexual Assault) 9635 3610 or 1800 806 292 (After Hours)
There are also Centres Against Sexual Assault in all regions across Victoria. See the following contacts:
South Eastern CASA 03 9594 2289 www.secasa.com.au
Ballarat CASA 03 5320 3933 www.casa.org.au/ballarat
Barwon CASA (Geelong) 03 5222 4802 www.barwoncasa.org
Eastern CASA 03 9870 7310
Gatehouse Centre 03 9345 6391 www.rch.org.au/gatehouse
Gippsland CASA 03 5134 3922
Goulburn Valley CASA 03 5831 2343
Loddon Campaspe CASA 03 5441 0430
Malee SAU 03 5025 5400
Northern CASA 03 9497 1768 www.northern.casa.org.au/
Sexual Assault Crisis Line 03 9347 3066 www.thewomens.org.au/SexualAssaultCrisisLine
South Western CASA 03 5564 4144
Upper Murray CASA 03 5722 2203 www.casa.org.au/umcasa
West CASA 03 9687 8637
Wimmera CASA 03 5381 9272
Women's Domestic Violence Crisis Service (24 hours) 1800 015 188 (Country callers) or 9373 0123 (metro)
Domestic Violence & Incest Resource Centre 9380 4343
Men's Referral Service 1800 065 973 (free call within Victoria) or (03) 9428 2899 (Monday to Friday 12noon to 9pm)
Mensline Australia 1300 78 99 78 www.menslineaus.org.au
Victorian Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (VACRO)
9602 1366 www.vacro.org.au
St Kilda Crisis Centre (24 hours) 9536 7777 or 1800 627 727 (Free call)
Good Shepherd Youth and Family Services 9419 5477