Mandatory Reporting and Working with Children and Families
As a social worker, do I have a legal obligation to report suspected child abuse?
Legal obligations to report child abuse vary according to the state or territory and the relevant requirements of federal and state law. The Australian Institute of Family Studies has prepared a detailed resource sheet, available here, which outlines: State and territory-based professional and individual responsibilities The definition of a notifiable concern as outlined in relevant legislation in each state or territory. This generally refers, for example, to ‘a belief formed on “reasonable grounds”’ The types of abuse that must be reported. For example, in the ACT it is mandatory to report physical and sexual abuse, while in NSW you may also be mandated to report neglect and exposure to family violence. The applicable sections of legislation and/or regulation
Mandatory reporting requirements in state or territory jurisdictions
Jurisdiction ACT Who is mandated to notify? Doctors; dentists; nurses and midwives; teachers; police officers; school counsellors; child-care providers; public servants providing services relating to the health or wellbeing of children, young people or families; the public advocate; an official visitor; a person who, in the course of employment, has contact with or provides services to children, young people and their families and is prescribed by regulation. Note: Social work is not currently regulated in Australia.
Persons who deliver health care, welfare, education, children's services, residential services or law enforcement wholly or partly to children. A person who holds a management position in an organisation, the duties of which include direct responsibility for, or direct supervision of, the provision of health care, welfare, education, children’s services, residential services or law enforcement, wholly or partly to children.