Personal SafetyChild Abuse
What can I do?
Protecting children and young people from harm is everyone’s business. Children and young people will only be protected from abuse and neglect
if responsible adults take action on their behalf. Reporting your concerns about a child or young person’s safety or well being is the first step in preventing or stopping the abuse and protecting children from further harm.
Your report will be totally confidential – we won’t tell anyone who reported the abuse or neglect to us and you don’t have to tell us your name if you don’t want to. Protection Helpline on 132 111 for the cost of a local call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
What will Family and Community Services do?
By law, Family and Community Services (FACS) must assess reports where a child or young person is or may be at risk of significant harm from abuse or neglect.
When you report to us, our staff will ask you questions to help them find out about the risk of significant harm to the child or young person involved.
What happens next depends on the information received by FACS. The matter might be closed as no risk of significant harm is indicated or we may ask a local Community Services Centre to make a further assessment. Sometimes the child or young person and their family are visited immediately because the information indicates the child or young person is in immediate danger.
We may need to talk to other people to find out about the family’s circumstances. For example, we might contact the child or young person’s teacher, child care worker or relatives.
The law allows FACS to exchange information that relates to the safety, welfare or wellbeing of a child or young person with a range of agencies, including NSW Police, NSW Health or the Department of Education. If the child or young person is at risk of significant harm, we try to work with the family, other agencies and professionals to make sure they are safe.
If we think a child or young person is in immediate danger, we will move them to a safe place. We involve the child or young person and their family as much as possible in decisions that affect them.
What if a report is made about me or a child in my care?
Parents and carers are responsible for the safety and welfare of children or young people in their care. Where this does not occur, or is not possible, FACS becomes responsible for ensuring that children and young people are safe from abuse and neglect.
This means FACS must respond when someone tells us they think a child or young person has been significantly harmed or injured, or is currently at risk of significant harm from abuse or neglect.
If FACS receives a report about a child or young person in your care, a FACS caseworker may contact you by telephone or a visit to your home to talk with you and other family members.
Caseworkers are trained to assess the family situation and its effect on children, young people and parents. The knowledge you have about your family is very important and the caseworker will work closely with you and other family members to ensure that relevant information is used in the assessment and that your family’s circumstances.