Child protection

Child Protection provides child-centred, family-focused services to protect children and young people from significant harm caused by abuse or neglect within the family. It also aims to make sure that children and young people receive services to deal with the affect of abuse and neglect on their wellbeing and development.

The role of the Child Protection Service is to:

  • Receive reports from people who believe a child needs protection from abuse or neglect.
  • Provide advice to people who report cases of abuse or neglect.
  • Investigate when a child is believed to have been abused or is at risk of abuse or neglect.
  • Refer children and families to services in the community for ongoing support and harm prevention.
  • Take matters to the Children's Court if the child's safety within the family cannot be guaranteed.
  • Supervise children on legal orders granted by the Children’s Court.

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 significant harm.

Further information can be found on Reporting child abuse or Making a referral to Child FIRST.

Failure to disclose child sexual abuse offence

A new offence for failure to disclose child sexual abuse came into effect on 27 October 2014. The offence requires that any adult who holds a reasonable belief that a sexual offence has been committed in Victoria by an adult against a child (aged under 16) disclose that information to police. The offence applies to all adults in Victoria, not just professionals who work with children, unless they have a reasonable excuse.

Further information about the offence and how to report can be found on New criminal offences to improve responses to child sexual abuse.

Information sharing guidelines

Sharing information is important because effective service provision relies upon all relevant information being available. In addition, the most vulnerable families often need assistance from more than one agency, and information needs to be shared for these agencies to work effectively together.

Further information can be found on Information sharing guidelines.

Practice resources for child protection workers

Specialist practice resources provide additional guidance on information gathering, analysis and planning, action, and reviewing outcomes in cases where specific complex problems exist or with particular developmental stages in children’s lives.

Further infrormation can be found on Specialist practice resources.

Changes to child protection law

On Tuesday, 2 September 2014, the Victorian Parliament passed new laws that will strengthen the Victorian Government’s response to children and young people in out-of-home care.

These are important changes for children in out-of-home care, their parents and carers, and the services that support them.

For a detailed overview of changes to the law that will support more timely decision-making and permanency for children, see the Changes to child protection law webpage on this site.

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