Reporting child safety concerns fact sheet
What is reportable?
You must report if you know, believe or suspect that an unborn baby, child or young person is being abused or neglected, including:
- sexual abuse
- physical abuse, including restricted practices
- emotional abuse, including exposure to family violence or suspected family violence
- neglect, including isolated incidents or a pattern of failure over time, to provide the development and wellbeing of the child/young person in one or more of the following areas:
- emotional development
- shelter and safe living conditions
Several options are available, depending on the nature of the issues or concerns:
If you know, believe or suspect that an unborn baby, child or young person is being abused or neglected you must contact as soon as possible:
- the Strong Families Safe Kids Advice and Referral line (ARL) on 1800 000 123 or
- report online at Strong Families Safe Kids
If a child is at immediate risk and needs police or medical assistance, call 000.
Concerns about a Department of Health worker
If you have concerns about the behaviour of an employee, volunteer or contractor, report via:
If the employee is a registered health practitioner, you also need to notify the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
If you have concerns relating to suspected/alleged historical abuse or harm:
- contact the Strong Families Safe Kids ARL and
- the Tasmania Police Assistance Line via 131 444 and
- if a registered profession is involved notify the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
For other concerns
For any other concerns or worries about the safety and/or wellbeing of a child/young person contact the Strong Families Safe Kids ARL.
Keep in the loop
- Advise: Ensure you keep your relevant manager/director in the loop – for example, your Nurse Unit Manager (NUM) or After-Hours NUM.
- Document: Note your course of action in a Digital Medical Record, progress notes or in the Safety Reporting and Learning System as required.
Child safety and conduct related matters are concerning and can affect everyone differently. If you want to talk to someone, a range of specialist support options are available.
Employee support options
Department of Health staff can get support through our Employee Assistance Program (EAP). You can contact EAP providers 24 hours a day, seven days a week to access free confidential counselling at:
- Catholic Care 1800 674 434
- Converge International 1300 687 327
- Newport and Wildman 1800 650 204
- Positive Solutions 1800 064 039
Community support services
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- beyondblue 1300 224 636
- 1800RESPECT 1800 737 732
- Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
- MensLine Australia 1300 789 978
- Relationships Australia Tasmania 1300 364 277
- Sexual Assault Support Service Inc. 1800 697 877
A 6-year-old is admitted on a ward for 3 days with unexplained acute abdominal pain. The parents have been alternating between day and nights shifts, and in the evenings, mum goes home to care for the other children.
The 6-year-old initially presents as talkative and happy.
Mum presents as flustered, but calm and softly spoken. She wears baggy clothing, and long sleeves and long pants despite the warmer weather.
Dad is reserved but abrupt and avoids eye contact.
Mum and dad only interact minimally, and mum does not maintain eye contact with dad. She focuses all her attention on the 6-year-old when dad is in the same room.
When mum leaves the 6-year-old becomes noticeably withdrawn, quiet and stops all activities.
On your evening round, when you check on the patient, they are on the far side of the bed, appear to be distressed and clutching their blankets.
During your routine check you notice that the 6-year-old has red marks on their abdomen, arms and wrists. When you ask dad about these marks, dad advises they were ‘thrashing about the bed like a ratbag - hitting the side rails’. You notice that the bed rails are down and the 6-year-old looks scared.
The following morning you notice that the red marks on the 6-year-old have turned into bruises, when you ask mum about the bruises, she ‘throws a look’ at the 6-year-old, quickly covers them up and brushes off your concern/questions. The 6-year-old is due to be discharged.
You don’t need to wait until you have evidence.
Staff at the Strong Families Safe Kids Advice and Referral Line will always want to hear from you if you’re worried about a child’s safety or wellbeing.
- Suspected family violence - talk about the behaviours you have seen of all family members and the interactions between mum and dad.
- Physical abuse - the unlikely explanation/unexplained bruising on the 6-year-old.
- Emotional abuse - the 6-year-old cowering in the corner of their bed, and noticeable behaviour change.
- Health - the unexplained acute abdominal pain.
- Document - record as much detail as you can in progress notes, Digital Medical Record (DMR) or Safety, Reporting and Learning System (SRLS).
- Advise - if appropriate, advise your Nurse Unit Manager, After Hours Nurse Unit Manager, Manager or Director of your contact with the Strong Families Safe Kids Advice and Referral Line and all your other actions.