Reporting Child Abuse
The Sydney Diocese requires anyone in a position of authority within the church and anyone working with children or young people, who has reasonable grounds to suspect that a child or young person is at risk of significant harm to report their suspicions to the authorities.
Reporting concerns of abuse or risk of harm to children is also a legal requirement. From 1 March 2020, the definition of a ‘mandatory reporter’ in NSW has expanded to include persons in religious ministry or persons providing religion-based activities to children. This includes clergy and those in appointed (voluntary) leadership roles.
A mandatory reporter must make a report to the Department of Communities and Justice (formerly known as FaCS) Child Protection Helpline, when they have reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is at risk of significant harm and those grounds arise in the course of, or from their work or role.
All mandatory reporters are legally protected against retribution for making or proposing to make a report.
Mandatory reporters should use the Mandatory Reporter Guide (MRG) to help decide whether a report to the Child Protection Helpline should be made.
The MRG is a Structured Decision Making (®SDM) tool and is intended to support mandatory reporters in NSW to:
- determine whether a report to the Child Protection Helpline is needed; and
- identify alternative supports for vulnerable children, young people and their families.
Once the MRG process is completed, a decision report will guide the reporter as to what action to take.
Reports can be made to the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111. The Helpline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Contact the police before making any report to the Helpline if a situation requires emergency assistance. Reporting to police is also required where a person knows, believes or reasonably ought to know that a child abuse offence has been committed and has information that would assist police. NSW Crimes Act 1900 (s 316A).
The Sydney Diocese also requires a report be made to the Office of the Director of Safe Ministry (ODSM) where the alleged perpetrator is a church worker.
Mandatory Reporter information accessed from: