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Mandatory reporting

MANDATORY REPORTING UNDER THE CARE AND PROTECTION OF CHILDREN ACT (NT)

In accordance with Section 26 of the Care and Protection of Children Act:

  1. A person is guilty of an offence if the person:
    (a) believes, on reasonable grounds, any of the following:
    1. a child has suffered or is likely to suffer harm or exploitation; or
    2. a child aged less than 14 years has been or is likely to be a victim of a sexual offence;
    3. a child has been or is likely to be a victim of an offence of an against section 128 of the Criminal Code; and

    (b) does not, as soon as possible after forming that belief, report (orally or in writing) to the CEO or a police officer:

    1. that belief; and
    2. any knowledge of the person forming the grounds for that belief; and
    3. any factual circumstances on which that knowledge is based.

    Note for subsection (1) (a) (iii)
    The victim of an offence against section 128 of the Criminal Code is a child who is of or over the age of 16 years and under the offender’s special care as mentioned in that section (for example, because the offender is a step-parent or teacher of the victim).
    Please note that registered health professionals have additional reporting requirements as follows.

  2. A person is guilty of an offence if the person:
    (a) is a health practitioner or someone who performs work of a kind that is prescribed by regulation; and
    (b) believes, on reasonable grounds:
    1. that a child aged at least 14 years (but less than 16 years) has been or is likely to be a victim of a sexual offence; and
    2. that the difference in age between the child and alleged sexual offender is more than 2 years; and

    (c) does not, as soon as possible after forming that belief, report (orally or in writing) to the CEO or a police officer:

    1. that belief; and
    2. any knowledge of the person forming the grounds for that belief; and
    3. any factual circumstances on which that knowledge is based.

Under the Act, harm to a child is any significant detrimental effect caused by any act, omission or circumstance on:

the physical, psychological or emotional wellbeing of the child; or
the physical, psychological or emotional development of the child;
Harm can be caused by the following:
physical, psychological or emotional abuse or neglect of the child;
sexual abuse or other exploitation of the child;
exposure of the child to physical violence.

Exploitation of a child includes any sexual abuse of a child, any other forms of exploitation, or involving the child as a participant or spectator in any act of a sexual nature, prostitution or pornographic performance.

Mandatory Reporting process

Telephone the 24-hour NT Child Protection Hotline on 1800 700 250 or NT Police on 131 444. The following information will be requested:

Child’s name, age, address and present location
The nature of the sexual offence, harm or exploitation
The basis for your belief e.g. what you have seen or heard
Information about any immediate danger to the child
Any other information you think might help.

If you don’t have all this information you should still report. A report must be made irrespective of who is implicated: a colleague, friend, relative, senior staff member, volunteer or parent.

You should note that in making a report it is not necessary for you to provide proof. You need only report what you believe may be the case, and the grounds for that belief. Any investigation must then be left to NT Families and Children and/or police. If you are uncertain as to whether or not there are grounds to warrant making a report you can, in confidence, call NT Child Protection Hotline and seek advice in this regard.

Making a report in good faith does not constitute a breach of confidence or professional ethics, and section 27 of the Act provides you with legal protection against civil or criminal liability for making such a report.

If after a mandatory report is made, you believe that there are concerns for the safety of staff or students, or the report relates to a staff member, you must inform your principal of the report.

As a school-based employee you can play a key role in the protection of children, both while they are students in a school context and also in the broader community

Care and Protection of Children Act (NT)

15 Harm to child

  1. Harm to a child is any significant detrimental effect caused by any act, omission or circumstance on:
    (a) the physical, psychological or emotional wellbeing of the child; or
    (b) the physical, psychological or emotional development of the child.
  2. Without limiting subsection (1), harm can be caused by the following:
    (a) physical, psychological or emotional abuse or neglect of the child;
    (b) sexual abuse or other exploitation of the child;
    (c) exposure of the child to physical violence.

16 Exploitation of child

  1. Exploitation of a child includes sexual and any other forms of exploitation of the child.
  2. Without limiting subsection (1), sexual exploitation of a child includes:
    (a) sexual abuse of the child; and
    (b) involving the child as a participant or spectator in any of the following:
    1. an act of a sexual nature;
    2. prostitution;
    3. a pornographic performance.

26 Reporting obligations

  1. A person is guilty of an offence if the person:
    (a) believes, on reasonable grounds, any of the following:
    1. a child has suffered or is likely to suffer harm or exploitation; or
    2. a child aged less than 14 years has been or is likely to be a victim of a sexual offence;
    3. a child has been or is likely to be a victim of an offence of an against section 128 of the Criminal Code; and

    (b) does not, as soon as possible after forming that belief, report (orally or in writing) to the CEO or a police officer:

    1. that belief; and
    2. any knowledge of the person forming the grounds for that belief; and
    3. any factual circumstances on which that knowledge is based.

27 Protection of person making report

  1. A person acting in good faith in making a report under section 26(1) is not civilly or criminally liable, or in breach of any professional code of conduct:
    (a) for making the report; or
    (b) for disclosing any information in the report.