Victoria Legal Aid

Information for young people about child abuse and neglect

Information for young people about what may happen if the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (Child Protection) becomes involved with them and their families.

If someone believes that you are at risk of being hurt or not taken care of properly, they can tell the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (Child Protection), which is a government agency.

Someone might think you are at risk if:

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

When a report is made

Anyone who is worried that you are not safe or being cared for at home can make a report to Child Protection.

Some people, like doctors, nurses, midwives, teachers, school principals and police officers, must tell the department if they believe you are being harmed or you’re at serious risk of harm.

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 do anything, or they might get involved with your family for a short or long time.

Being contacted by department workers

A worker from the Child Protection will want to talk to you and your family. The worker should explain why they are visiting you, and discuss the problems people have talked to them about.

The Child Protection 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 will 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.

Read more about child protectionExternal Link on the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing website.

Going to the Children’s Court

If Child Protection believes that you are not safe, they may make an application to the Children's Court to get a court order to protect you.

Other support

Contact us to find out how you can get other support for parenting arrangements, child contact and child support.

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.

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Reviewed 06 May 2022

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