Victoria Legal Aid

Child protection

The law says children and young people must be protected from harm, including child abuse.

My safety tool campaign image
My safety tool campaign image

Are you thinking about separating, or experiencing domestic, family or sexual violence?

The My safety tool can assist you to understand common separation issues, connect you with services and help you plan for your safety.

Get started with My safety

If someone is worried that your child is being seriously harmed or neglected, or is at risk of being seriously harmed or neglected, they can make a report to Child Protection. If this happens, Child Protection may become involved and contact you.

Neglect means a child is not receiving the care they need to keep them safe and healthy. This may include:

  • hurting or threatening to hurt a young person physically, sexually or emotionally
  • exposing a child to the risk of significant physical, sexual or emotional harm, such as:
    • being caught in the middle of family violence
    • allowing people with a history of child sex offences to be in the home
    • having care of a child while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs
    • having care of a child whilst living with an untreated mental health issue
  • neglecting a child, for example:
    • not giving a child enough food, clothing, shelter or necessary medical care
    • failing to provide proper supervision.

If the department is investigating a report

The Department of Families, Fairness and HousingExternal Link investigates all kinds of reports of harm and neglect.

If you are a parent and a report has been made about one of your children, the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing may investigate. Read our Fact sheets for parents and primary carers for more information.

We also have information for young people about child abuse and neglect.

Reporting child abuse

If you believe a child (even an unborn child) is at risk of being abused or neglected, or there is a real risk of this, you can:

  • call the police on 000 if a child is in immediate danger
  • report concerns to the Child Protection Crisis Line on 131 278 (24 hours, 7 days a week, toll free within Victoria)
  • contact your local Child FIRST officeExternal Link .

Reporting child abuse or neglect is confidential.

If you believe that the safety of your children is threatened by a family member you can get a family violence intervention order.

Other support

We can give you information and advice if Child Protection become involved with your family, even if you don’t have a court case.

You may need urgent legal help if:

  • you or family members are being told to leave your home
  • the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing says your child will be removed
  • you are asked to sign a written agreement
  • you are unhappy with any other action the department is taking.

Find out how you can get other support for violence, abuse and personal safety.

Read more information for young people about child abuse and neglect.

Fact sheets for parents and primary carers

These facts sheets have information for parents and primary carer who are involved in in the child protection system:

Answers common questions about child protection involvement, how to get help and what you can do if you’re unhappy with a Child Protection decision.

Answers some common questions about the child protection court process and how to get help.

Offers tips about working with Child Protection, from advocates and parents who have experience of Child Protection involvement with their family in the past.

Publications and resources

Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

We help Victorians with their legal problems and represent those who need it most. Find legal answers, chat with us online, or call us. You can speak to us in English or ask for an interpreter. You can also find more legal information at

Reviewed 14 December 2023

In this section