How to report a safeguarding concern
If you or your child have a concern about how they have been treated by the Department of Health, it is important to let us know. Speaking up can be frightening for children and young people – adults can help them through the process and encourage them to speak up.
The Department of Health is committed to the safety and wellbeing, participation, and empowerment of all children and young people that access our services.
If you or your child have a concern about how they have been treated, we would like to know about it so we can find a solution.
Reporting a safeguarding concern
Depending on your concern there may be a number of things you can do:
- If you or a child are immediately at risk call the Police
- Report inappropriate behaviour to the Department of Health
If you have a concern that does not relate to inappropriate behaviour you can report a general concern or provide feedback.
Abuse or neglect
Abuse or neglect means sexual abuse, or physical or emotional injury or other abuse or neglect.
If a child has disclosed that they have been the victim of abuse or neglect during their interaction with any of our services, it is important to let us know as soon as practical.
If a child is at immediate risk and Police or medical assistance is required, dial 000.
The Department of Health are mandatory reporters, this means we have a duty to report any concerns we have about the safety and wellbeing of children and young people. Any information you pass onto our Staff about suspected abuse or neglect will be reported to the Child Safety Service.
Reporting concerns of inappropriate behaviour
If your concern is related to the service your child was provided but is not related to inappropriate behaviour, you can send us feedback online through our online feedback form:
- We typically respond to your enquiry within seven working days.
- This will vary depending on the nature of the enquiry.
You can also give feedback by contacting the hospital’s Quality and Patient Safety Service's Consumer Liaison Unit:
Many children and young people will seek help from an adult they trust.
Some practical tips for when a child or young person has a concern that they wish to tell you:
- Move to a suitable environment, free of distractions.
- Be calm and patient—allow for the child or young person to be heard.
- Let the child or young person use their own words—avoid asking leading questions.
- Avoid “quizzing” the child or young person about details of the abuse.
- Don’t be afraid of saying the “wrong” thing. Listening supportively is more important than what you say.
- Reassure the child or young person that it is OK that they have told you what’s been happening.
- Address any concerns about the child or young person’s safety.
- Reassure the child or young person that he or she is not at fault and not the cause of any distress you may feel.
- Respect that the child or young person may only reveal some details.
- Acknowledge the child or young person’s bravery and strength.
- Avoid making promises you can’t keep—manage the child or young person’s expectations.
- Explain to the child or young person that in order for them to be safe you will need to report their experience to someone else.
There are a number of organisations that can offer support:
- 1800 Respect – Call 1800 737 732 or visit the 1800 Respect website.
24/7 telephone and online crisis support, information and immediate referral to specialist counselling for anyone in Australia who has experienced or been impacted by sexual assault, or domestic or family violence.
- Lifeline – Call 13 11 14 or visit the Lifeline website
24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention.
- Sexual Assault Support Service Inc (SASS) – Call 1800 067 877 (24 hours) or 03 6231 1811 / 03 6231 0044 (9 am - 5 pm weekdays) or visit the SASS website.
Southern-based community service organisation committed to providing high quality support and information to survivors of sexual abuse.
- Laurel House – Call 03 6334 2740 (North) 03 6431 9711 (North West) or visit the Laurel House website.
Northern and north-western-based sexual abuse and sexual assault support service.
- Beyond Blue – Call 1300 224 636 or visit the Beyond Blue website.
Mental health and wellbeing organisation supporting those affected by anxiety, depression and suicide.
- Kids helpline – Call 1800 55 1800 is a free, confidential 24/7 online and phone counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25. Visit the Kids helpline website