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What not to report as child abuse or neglect

The information on this page is for mandated notifiers.

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

Always call 000 if it is an emergency

While criminal activity is important to report to police, it may not be a reportable child abuse matter.

The following are examples of scenarios where contacting the child abuse report line is not necessary.

Criminal behaviour

The parents use drugs or alcohol recreationally

If there is no known impact on the children, they engage in the activities when the children are not present or it does not affect their capacity to parent, it should not be reported to the child abuse report line.

The parents engage in criminal activity

Where children are not involved, aware or affected, these are not child protection matters. Criminal activities including theft, prostitution or drug cultivation or production are issues that should be taken up with SAPOL (131 444).

Family issues

Siblings are fighting

This has no obvious child protection component. While the matter may be of concern, it is not an issue to report to the child abuse report line.

The child has a bruise

If the child’s behaviour has not noticeably changed, or there has been no disclosure of how this occurred, there is not enough evidence to suggest a child protection concern.

See indicators of child abuse for more detail about when bruising becomes an issue.

A child is not attending school

While it is important to report school absences and truancy, it is not a child protection matter except where it meets the criteria of the Memorandum of Administrative Arrangement regarding High Risk Chronic Non-Attenders (refer Section 4.8).

Otherwise truancy is a school issue which is monitored by the Department for Education and Child Development.

See attendance for more details about truancy and absences.

There are no reasonable grounds of suspicion of abuse

The investigatory process by the Department for Child Protection, SA Police or Child Protection Services can be extremely intrusive on families and children.

Only contact the child abuse report line when reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect exists.


Child Abuse Report Line (CARL)

Telephone: 13 14 78