Recently in the news, there was an article about a 77 year old man who had been charged with indecent treatment of children.
These offences had occurred while the accused carried out tennis coaching at local schools some years previous. Two previous school principals had moved on to other jobs without taking any action, even though they were aware of inappropriate behaviour carried out by this man.
In the same city a couple of years ago, our local Catholic Bishop sacked a primary school principal and two Catholic Education officials for failing in their duty of care to protect children ,and not reporting their suspicions to police, despite evidence of sexual abuse by a teacher.
There are now legal requirements for mandatory reporting of child abuse and neglect, across all Australian states and territories. The groups of people mandated to notify their concerns varies in each state and territory.
In addition there are provisions within Commonwealth legislation under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) that relate to mandatory reporting. In most states and territories the mandate is applicable to such people as those employed in:
– Law enforcement;
– Doctors and healthcare workers;
– Welfare and Children’s service workers;
– Counsellors; and
– Legal practitioners.
In the Northern Territory, ANY person with reasonable grounds is mandated to notify of child abuse and neglect.
The Federal Government is currently calling for public feedback from stakeholders, on the terms of reference for its royal commission into child abuse, which is due to commence early 2013.
Statutory child protection authorities:
ACT: Office for Children, Youth and Family Support – Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services.
NSW: Community Services – Department of Family and Community Services.
NT: Children, Youth and Families – Department of Health and Families.
QLD:Department of Communities (Child Safety Services).
SA: Families SA – Department of Families and Communities.
TAS:Child Protection – Department of Health and Human Services.
VIC: Cild Protection and Family Services – Department of Human Services.
WA: Department for Child Protection.