Reporting child abuse

Survivors of child abuse can choose if they wish to report to the police

Everyone’s experience of child abuse is different. Some adult survivors choose to report their experience of child abuse to the police. Some survivors choose not to report. It is important you have the information to choose what is right for you when it comes to reporting.

If you wish to report your experience of child abuse, you can report a crime to the police. If there is a child currently at risk you may need to report to a child protection agency. Child protection agencies are called by different names in different states and territories.

Who is a mandatory reporter?

Some people are legally required to report if they suspect that a child is at risk of abuse to a child protection agency. These people are called ‘mandatory reporters’. Each state and territory has different laws about who is and is not a mandatory reporter and when they must report. It is important to know if you are a mandatory reporter and what your obligations are.

In some states and territories there are obligations on all adults that believe a child has been abused to report that child abuse to the police. Each state and territory has different laws about when adults must report a serious crime to the police.

How to make a police report

Survivors of child abuse can report to the police by attending a police station, and generally should expect to be asked a series of questions to make a detailed statement. The police may discuss the evidence they require.

Survivors of child abuse may find it helpful to call ahead to the police station and ask if they can schedule a time to make a police report. In some police regions there may be a specialist officer that is trained to receive reports of sexual abuse.

What if there is a problem with the police investigation

In each state and territory, there are different processes for how a person can complain about the conduct of the police. Generally, complaining to the police may be the first step. In some states or territories, there may be the ability to complain to an Ombudsman or police complaints body.

Please call knowmore on 1800 605 762 for free legal advice.