Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect
CYPS receives reports of concern relating to the safety and well-being of children and young people. Concerns may be related to:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse (including exposure to family violence)
- Sexual Abuse
If you are you concerned about a child or young person, you can notify CYPS in a number of ways:
Phone: 1300 556 729
Complete the online child concern report
Our service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please note however that after regular business hours, you are still able to report a concern, but we provide a crisis response only.
Information required when making a Child Concern Report
When making a Child Concern Report, please provide the following information:
- name and date of birth of the child or young person
- the home address of the child or young person and any known previous addresses of the family
- the current whereabouts of the child or young person
- name of parents, or their aliases, and contact details
- names of known siblings
- the nature of the abuse and neglect
- if you know of any supports being provided to the child, young person and family including extended family
- details about when and how you became aware of the information.
Mandated reporters are identified in Section 356 of the Children and Young People Act 2008 and include, among others:
- Child care centre workers
Mandated reporters must make a Child Concern Report if they believe on reasonable grounds, based on information obtain during the course of (or because of) their work, that a child or young person has experienced, or is experiencing:
- sexual abuse, or
- non-accidental physical injury.
Failure to report in a timely fashion may result in a maximum penalty of 50 penalty units, imprisonment for 6 months or both.
Mandated reporters should contact CYPS in any of the following ways:
Phone: 1300 556 728
Complete the online child concern report
What happens to my report?
CYPS will review all reports received and determine an appropriate course of action. In some cases this will involve making applications to the ACT Children’s Court for care and protection orders and maintaining an ongoing role with children and young people in foster, kinship or residential care placements.
All reporter details are kept in the strictest confidentiality. We ask for reporter details however in the event that we need to get more information about the child, family, or the incident. Information identifying a person making a child protection report will not be disclosed except where a Court orders the disclosure. CYPS work is underpinned by the Children and Young People Act 2008
Child and Youth Protection Services is authorised to collect personal information under the Children and Young People Act 2008 to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and young people in the ACT. The information collected may be disclosed to government and non-government agencies (including but not limited to the Australian Federal Police, ACT Children’s Court, the Family Court, Health and Education Directorates and community organisations) to assist in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of children and young people. Information identifying a person making a child protection report is treated with the highest confidentiality and will not be disclosed except where a Court orders the disclosure.
What if my Child is Reported?
If a Child Concern Report is made to CYPS about your child, or a child in your care, CYPS is required by law to gather further information about your child and family to determine whether your child may be at risk of abuse or neglect.
Often the first contact CYPS will make with you will be over the phone. If CYPS staff call, they will clearly identify themselves as a CYPS representative and explain what they are calling about. The staff may ask to visit your home to talk to you about your child to better understand what is happening and the unique circumstances and needs of your family. If this happens, you can nominate a time and place for the meeting that suits you and choose to have a support person there with you.
If the Child Concern Report alleges your child is at immediate risk of abuse or neglect, CYPS will investigate, or appraise, these concerns straightaway. CYPS staff will always clearly explain the allegations made about your child and family and work with you to understand the situation.
Regardless of the nature of the allegations however, CYPS is not permitted by law to tell you who made the Child Concern Report.
If CYPS contacts you to discuss a report, it means they want to find out more about your child’s situation and needs. If CYPS decides your child is not at risk they may still offer you support or a voluntary service for your child and family.
CYPS and the Australian Red Cross Birth Family Advocacy Support Service have developed a series of parent guides explaining the various aspects of the child protection system, including what happens when a Child Concern Report is made about a child. You can access these guides at Working together for kids.