The Department for Child Protection is responsible for overseeing and upholding child protection in Western Australia. Numerous Acts (laws) help to govern and guide the process of child protection. These acts include:
- Children and Community Services Act 2004 (as amended in 2011)
- Children and Community Services Amendment (Reporting Sexual Abuse of Children) Act 2008 (from 1 January 2009, these mandatory reporting provisions will become a part of the Children and Community Services Act 2004)
Other relevant Acts:
- Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004
- Family Court Act 1997
- Adoption Act 1994
- Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)
Visit the Department for Child Protection website for more information.
Reporting Child Abuse
What is reportable?
Outcomes or actions from which children are in need of protection include; neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional 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 or young person. 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 persons 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.
Can anyone report concerns for the safety of a child or young person?
ANY person who believes, on reasonable grounds, that a child is in need of protection may voluntarily report to Child Protection Services.
- You do not have to prove that abuse has taken place. You only need reasonable grounds for your belief.
- You do not need permission from parents or caregivers to make a report; nor do they need to be informed that a report is being made.
- If you made a report in good faith, you cannot be held legally liable - regardless of the outcome of the report.
- Your identity will remain confidential unless you need to give evidence if the matter goes to court. It is rare that this happens.
What is mandatory reporting?
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" and they MUST report to Child Protection Services if they believe on reasonable grounds that a child is in need of protection. Penalties may apply to mandated reporters who fail to report suspected abuse.
Who is mandated to report suspected abuse?
In Western Australia Mandatory reporting legislation varies across Australian jurisdictions around the types of abuse that must be reported and the range of people mandated to report.
The legislation that governs the mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse in Western Australia is the Children and Community Services Amendment (Reporting Sexual Abuse of Children) Act 2008. From 1st January 2009, these mandatory reporting provisions will become part of the Children and Community Services Act 2004.
In Western Australia, mandatory reporters of child sexual abuse under the Children and Community Services Amendments (Reporting Sexual Abuse of Children) Act 2008 are:
- Nurses and Midwives
- Police Officers
However, any person who has a belief that a child is being subjected to any form of abuse or neglect should report these concerns to the Department.
For further information and resources about mandatory reporting, or on how to make a report in WA visit the Mandatory Reporting in Western Australia page of the Department of Child Protection website, or call the Mandatory Reporting Service on 1800 708 704.
Who to report to and how:
If you need to report an offence that requires immediate police attention, please call:
Department for Child Protection: 08 9222 2555 or 1800 622 258 (country free call)
For after hours please contact Crisis Care: 1800 199 008 (country free call) or 08 9223 1111
Western Australia Police: 131 444
Police Child Abuse Unit: 08 9492 5444
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, please contact the nearest Child Protection Office which is closest to the home of the child. To find the nearest office go to:
There are also Support Services across WA 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
- Crisis/Housing Services
- Men's Services
Princess Margaret Hospital www.pmh.health.wa.gov.au
Child Protection Unit 08 9340 8646
Women's Law Centre 08 9272 8800
1800 625 122
Legal Aid Western Australia 1300 650 579
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
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 www.kidshelp.com.au
Family Helpline 08 9223 1100
Lynks - YMCA 08 9227 4111
Manguri Youth Program / Aboriginal Family Counselling Service 08 9350 6735
Parenting Line and Parent Help Centre 1800 654 432
Relationships Australia - Head Office 08 9489 6363 or 1800 364 277
Spectrum Counselling (Victims and Perpetrators of sexual assault ) 08 9480 5724
Lifeline 13 11 14
Safecare 08 9335 9411
Sexual Assault and Referral Centre 1800 199 888 (free for STD callers) or 08 9340 1828
Incest Survivors Association 08 9227 8745 www.isa.asn.au
Women's Domestic Violence Helpline 08 9223 1188
or 1800 007 339 (free for STD callers)
Men's Domestic Violence Helpline 08 9223 1199 or 1800 000 5999
Domestic Violence Program 08 9489 6363
Crisis Care (24 Hours) 1800 199 008 or 08 9223 1111
Women's Refuge Group 08 9227 1642
Mensline Australia 1300 78 99 78