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Preparing to report child abuse

The information on this page is for mandated notifiers.

If you are a concerned member of the public, see the sa.gov.au website for information about making a report to the child abuse report line.

Always call 000 if it is an emergency

Mandated notifiers should use the notification checklist to make sure they have all the following information ready when they make a report to the child abuse report line via phone or online.

Details to provide

When making a notification you need to be able to tell the child abuse report line as much information as you have about:

  • child’s name, age, date of birth, address
  • description of injury, abuse and/or neglect (current and previous)
  • the child’s current situation
  • the location of the child, parent or caregiver and alleged perpetrator
  • when and how did you find out about the abuse.

If the child is Aboriginal you should also provide the Clan group of the child, if known.

The report line staff will ask more detailed questions similar to below.

Child identification details and context

You will need to provide enough detail to identify the child or young person and give context to your report, including:

  • the child’s full name as well as their
    • date of birth or age
    • current address
    • contact number
    • school/kindergarten/ child care centre
    • ethnicity (ie Aboriginal, kinship group, non-English speaking)
  • who are the parents, do they all live in the same house, are there siblings in the house?
  • alleged perpetrator’s name, age, address, relationships to the child or children, current whereabouts 
  • current whereabouts of the child or children of concern
  • details of when the next expected contact with the alleged perpetrator will occur
  • if there are any family court orders, apprehended violence orders or domestic violence orders in place.

Notifier details

You will be asked to provide details about yourself including:

  • your full name, job title, agency name or address, contact number
  • your relationship to the child or children of concern
  • type of contact you have with the family, frequency and last time you saw the child or children
  • if are you working with the child or the family, and If so, in what capacity.

Considerations

You will also need to provide your reasons for contacting the child abuse report line. Questions may include:

  • Are the caregivers aware that a report is being made?
  • Have you given any expectation of action to the child?
  • What action are you expecting the department to take?
  • What action can you take?
  • What action have you already taken, what impact has that had and how has it helped?

Details of concerns

You will be asked questions about the allegations that may include:

  • What has the child disclosed: what did he/she say and what was his/her emotional presentation?
  • Who saw or heard what and when?
  • Size and location of injuries, if any, with descriptions of bruising (colour and appearance)
  • Has the child been seen by a Doctor? If so, provide the name and contact number. 
  • Has the matter been reported to police?
  • Who else is aware of the concerns?
  • Are the caregivers protective?
  • Describe any caregiver behaviour that is of concern, including how often and how severe. 
  • Describe any behaviour by the child that is of concern, including how often it occurs.

You will also be asked about the child’s family and family history, including issues like:

  • domestic violence
  • drug and alcohol use or abuse
  • violence to people outside the family
  • relevant health factors
  • extended family or other support networks
  • child care arrangements
  • nature of involvement with any agencies
  • mental health issues/presentations and details of diagnosis if known
  • physical or intellectual disability.

When problem sexual behaviour (PDF 1.01MB) is being reported, specific details of the behaviour are required including:

  • type, context, frequency
  • who the child or young person is engaging in sexual behaviour with (ie is it evident there is a power imbalance?)
  • responses to behaviour (ie parents, school, parent’s understanding of the behaviour, family attitudes to sexuality, appreciation of child’s possible disability, mindfulness of age appropriate behaviour).

Before the call is concluded

You will be asked some final questions before completing the report:

  • what prompted you to call? (if this is not already obvious)
  • are the caregivers aware a report is being made?
  • is the child or are the children aware a report has been made? What was their response?

Following up or adding to a report

Mandated reporters are entitled to know if their concerns are going to be recorded as "child protection" or otherwise.

This is the only feedback you are entitled to. Other feedback may be provided by contacting the responsible office, although this is at their discretion and may depend largely on your ongoing role with the child or young person.

If you need to add to a report you have made, you should contact the child abuse report line again.

Contact

Child Abuse Report Line (CARL)

Telephone: 13 14 78