Let’s talk child safety.
Every child deserves to feel safe and protected at all times. Unfortunately, not every child has that security. If you have been witness to child harm or have reason to suspect that a child is being subjected to harm, it is important to know what you can do to help ensure that child’s safety. Whether you’re a concerned family member, teacher, doctor or friend, your voice is an important one in preventing harm to a child.
What is harm?
The Child Protection Act 1999 provides authority for the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services to intervene where a child has been or is at risk of being harmed. Harm is considered as any detrimental effect of a significant nature on the child’s physical, psychological or emotional wellbeing. Harm can be caused by physical, psychological or emotional abuse or neglect or through sexual abuse or exploitation.
Is the child in need of protection?
A child may have already suffered significant harm, be currently suffering significant harm, or be at an unacceptable risk of suffering significant harm. In any of these situations, where the child does not have a parent able and willing to protect the child from harm, under the Child Protection Act 1999, that child is considered to be in need of protection.
So, what do you need to do next?
If you reasonably believe that a child may be in need of protection, you may contact the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services. There are also certain people who are mandated to notify the Department, such as doctors, teachers and registered nurses, where during the course of their engagement they form a reasonable suspicion concerning significant harm having been suffered or being suffered, by a child or there being an unacceptable risk of the child suffering significant harm, caused by physical or sexual abuse and that the child may not have a parent able and willing to protect the child from the harm.
When informing the Department of an alleged child abuse issue, it is important to provide a detailed, clear, and comprehensive report. The Department will use that information to determine whether or not to investigate allegations of harm and to carry out an assessment to determine if a child is in need of protection.
Providing this information in a timely manner to the Department, can seriously improve the child’s chances of being protected against any further harm. For more information on child safety, visit the government website, or contact the LGM Family Law team today.