Reporting to Child Protection – process and escalation
Confidentiality and professional protections
The identity of a reporter must remain confidential when making a report unless:
- the reporter chooses to inform the child, young person or parent of the report
- the reporter consents in writing to their identity being disclosed
- a court or tribunal decides that it is necessary for the reporter’s identity to be disclosed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the child
- a court or tribunal decides that in the interests of justice the evidence needs to be given.
If a report is made in good faith:
- it does not constitute a breach of professional conduct or ethics on the part of the reporter
- the reporter is legally protected in respect of the report.
When school staff make a report to Department of Families, Fairness and Housing Child Protection (Child Protection), the report will be received by the intake team. Intake determines the appropriate response and provides advice to reporters including advice about where children and families can access support services. Intake will decide whether the report should proceed to referral or investigation.
If the report is classified as a protective intervention report and/or a therapeutic treatment report, it will proceed to investigation by Child Protection. An investigation establishes if a child is in need of protection as defined by the law. An investigation involves interviews with the child and parents.
Requests for information
When sharing information with Child Protection, registered school teachers, principals, kindergarten teachers and any person in charge of an education and care service may disclose information to Child Protection in good faith in accordance with the Children Youth and Families Act 2005. This disclosure of information does not constitute unprofessional conduct or a breach of professional ethics or expose the person to any liability.
As part of an investigation, Child Protection and/or Victoria Police may conduct interviews of children at the school without the parent/carer’s knowledge or consent. Child Protection would only interview children at school where it is in the best interests of the child.
After an investigation has been undertaken, Child Protection will decide whether the report has been substantiated and protective intervention is required.
If Child Protection makes a protection application in the Children's Court, school staff might be required to produce documents or give evidence in court if requested. This is called a subpoena or a witness summons. Refer to .
Protection order phase
If the court finds that the child is in need of protection and that an order is required to promote the child’s ongoing safety and development, they will grant a protection order.
The primary role of the Child Protection practitioner during this phase is to administer the protection order made by the Children’s Court and continue to engage with the child and family to address the protective concerns.
Support for the child or young person
Before, during, and after the Child Protection process, school staff must provide ongoing support for children impacted by abuse. School staff can support students by:
- developing a student support plan in consultation with health and wellbeing professionals
- acting as a support person for the child
- attending Child Protection case planning meetings
- observing and monitoring the child’s behaviour
- referring to and/or liaising with health and wellbeing professionals.
Where a school staff member continues to have concerns about a child after Child Protection has closed the case, the school can escalate the matter by:
Reviewed 12 July 2022