Definition of mandating reporting

Legislation in all jurisdictions except New South Wales requires mandatory reporting in relation to all young people up to the age of 18 years (whether they use the terms "children" or "children and young people").In New South Wales, the legislative grounds for intervention cover young people up to 18 years of age, but it is not mandatory to report suspicions of risk of harm in relation to young people aged 16 and 17 years.

Although particular professional groups (such as psychologists) or government agencies (such as education departments in some states) may have protocols outlining the moral, ethical or professional responsibility or indeed the organisational requirement to report, they may not be officially mandated under their jurisdiction's child protection legislation.

For example, in Queensland, teachers are required to report all forms of suspected significant abuse and neglect under school policy but are only mandated to report sexual abuse under the legislation.

A common assumption is that mandatory reporting requirements, the legislative grounds for intervention, and research classifications of abusive and neglectful behaviour are the same.

In fact, mandatory reporting laws define the types of situations that must be reported to statutory child protection services.

If you require assistance or would like to talk to a trained professional about the issues described in this paper, please call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.