Anyone who suspects, on reasonable grounds, that a child or young person is at risk of being neglected or physically, sexually or emotionally abused, should report it to the Community Services Child Protection Helpline on 132 111 (TTY 1800 212 936) for the cost of a local call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Reporting suspected abuse or neglect
Many people find it difficult to raise their concerns or problems about organisations they are involved with.
They may not know the process for doing this, they may fear they will not be taken seriously, or they may not trust the organisation to do the right thing.
This is more difficult for kids. Kids are often reluctant to raise a concern or complain. They may feel powerless or worried about peer pressure; they may fear they will be excluded from their activity and friends if they make a complaint.
A culture of transparency and being open to people raising questions, comments and concerns is essential for a Child-safe Child-friendly organisation. Complaints procedures that are accessible and relevant to children and young people are an important component of this.
Organisations that function well are keen to improve the way they do things. This means encouraging adults and kids to speak up when they have a concern. Complaints should always be dealt with fairly and in a professional manner.
Effective complaint procedures have the following features:
- people believe their concerns will be taken seriously and their confidentiality is assured
- there is a clear and fair process in place for reporting and following up concerns and allegations
- everyone involved knows the process for managing the complaint and where appropriate, will be told about its outcome
How an organisation handles smaller issues of conflict or complaint will demonstrate to kids, parents and staff, your effectiveness in dealing with bigger issues, like abuse or bullying.
Whether an organisation is small or large, a complaints process is an essential ingredient in maintaining an environment of safety and well-being for kids, parents, workers and volunteers.
A complaints process means that incidents will be handled in a professional way; it also helps organisations to learn and improve procedures through experience.
For more help in dealing with complaints, follow the links below.
Working With Children - Reporting Obligations in NSW
You should remember that allegations of child abuse must be handled by professionals. Call the NSW Department of Community Services on 132 111 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) if you suspect child abuse.