Information for young people about child abuse and neglect

Read our legal information about COVID-19 coronavirus.

Information for young people about child abuse and neglect

If someone believes that you are at risk of being hurt or neglected they can tell the Department of Health and Human Services, a government agency. This is called a child protection notification.

Someone might think you are at risk if:

  • someone is hurting or mistreating you
  • you are being neglected
  • you have left home
  • you are behaving in a risky way or you are hurting yourself.

Child protection notifications

Anyone who is worried that you are not safe or being cared for at home can make a report to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Some people, like doctors, nurses, midwives, teachers, school principals and police officers, must tell the department if they believe a child or young person is being harmed or that there is a serious risk of this. This is called mandatory reporting.

The department must investigate every report. This can include speaking to you, your family members and other people involved with your family.

Each family’s situation is different. The department may decide not to take action or may get involved with a family for a short or long time.

Being contacted by department workers

A worker from the Department of Health and Human Services will want to talk to you and your family. The worker should explain why they are visiting you, and talk about the problems that have been reported.

The department worker is meant to work with you and your family to sort things out to make sure you are safe. You don’t have to talk to them, but they still need to investigate the report.

You should be told of any decisions that are made. If you don’t understand what’s happening, ask the department worker to explain.

The department has information about what can happen when child protection workers visit.

Going to the Children’s Court

If the Department of Health and Human Services believes that you are not safe, they may go to the Children's Court to get a court order to protect you. For more information see Going to court for a child protection case.

Get help

Contact us to find out how you can get help with your child protection matter.

Was this helpful?