Reporting the incident

Did you know?

Incidents or suspected cases of child abuse and neglect are usually first reported by health or welfare professionals, teachers or the police.

After compiling that list, Alison and Tina realised that they must report the situation. It seemed to them that some sort of abuse was being carried out on Simon, but they weren't in a position to lay any blame. It could be that Simon was being abused by someone in his immediate family, or maybe a close relative or friend. By reporting the situation and handing over the information that they had compiled, the relevant authorities would be able to investigate further.

Mandatory reporting

'The legal requirement to report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect is known as mandatory reporting. All jurisdictions possess mandatory reporting requirements of some description. However, the people mandated to report and the abuse types for which it is mandatory to report vary across Australian states and territories.'

Reference: Mandatory reporting of child abuse, Australian Institute of Family Studies 2009.
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Find out what the regulations are in your State or Territory. As a child care assistant, are you required by law to report all child abuse cases?

When you have found out what the legislation is in your State or Territory, write some notes explaining what the legislation said. Keep a copy of your thoughts in your notebook.

You could start by looking at the document below.

Click on Publications, and search for the most recent Child Protection Australia report. Look at the section on reporting of abuse and neglect.

Now that you know more about how child abuse is reported, and you have read some information about the prevalence of child abuse in this country, what are your feelings towards mandatory reporting?

This is a very complex issue that has been strongly debated for many years. Now is your chance to have your say.

Do you believe that any suspected case of abuse should be required by law to be reported? Prepare some notes for a debate on this topic.

  1. Choose either the negative team (does not agree with mandatory reporting), or the affirmative team (agrees that mandatory reporting should be implemented)
  2. Research the legislation covering mandatory reporting in Australia
  3. Prepare some notes you could use to present your case in a debate.