Meeting the needs of children and making sure they are safe in the family is a shared responsibility between individuals, the family, the community and the government. When adults caring for children do not follow through with their responsibilities, are abusive or exploit their positions of power, then it is the child protection system that becomes responsible for taking action.
The Victorian Child Protection Service is specifically targeted to those children and young people at risk of harm or where families are unable or unwilling to protect them.
The main functions of child protection are to:
- investigate matters where it is alleged that a child is at risk of harm
- refer children and families to services that assist in providing the ongoing safety and wellbeing of children
- take matters before the Children's Court if the child's safety cannot be ensured within the family
- supervise children on legal orders granted by the Children's Court
- provide and fund accommodation services, specialist support services, and adoption and permanent care to children and adolescents in need
Mandatory reporting of child abuse
Some professionals such as doctors, nurses, police and school teachers are legally obliged to report suspected child abuse. In addition, any person who believes on reasonable grounds that a child needs protection can make a report to the Victorian Child Protection Service. It is the Child Protection worker’s job to assess and, where necessary, further investigate if a child or young person is at risk of harm.
Leaving children unattended
In Victoria it is an offence for a person responsible for a child to leave the child unattended for any longer than is reasonable, without making appropriate arrangements for the child’s supervision and care. This includes leaving a child at home, or in a car, or anywhere else unattended.
This page contains guidance for adults responsible for children about leaving children unattended and includes an overview of Victorian law and links to further information.
- Suitability panel
Suitability Panel (the Panel) assesses whether an allegation of physical or sexual abuse against a child is proved and whether, as a result, an individual is found to pose an unacceptable risk of harm to children and is therefore disqualified from being registered to care for children.
- Child protection contacts
Contact details for Child Protection Units.
Child Protection After Hours Service
Tel: 13 12 78