Skip to content

Standard 5: responding and reporting

All staff and volunteers must understand their role in keeping children safe, including their reporting responsibilities.

Child Safe Standard 5: Processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse

Organisations have a responsibility to promote and provide an environment in which children, staff and volunteers are encouraged to speak up when they are uncomfortable or concerned.

This includes:

  • recognising that the safety of children is everyone’s responsibility
  • having a clear procedure for reporting concerns and allegations
  • encouraging children to report if they feel unsafe or concerned
  • making people within the organisation aware of their duty of care and legal responsibilities
  • appropriately acting on concerns and complaints
  • keeping and securely storing accurate records.


Children who disclose that they are feeling unsafe or being abused must be heard, must be taken seriously and must be treated with sensitivity and compassion.

They and their families and carers should be connected with services that can support them to manage a difficult or traumatic experience.

An organisation’s response to reports of suspected abuse should be the same no matter how the organisation feels about the child’s disclosure or the person or persons implicated in their disclosure.


Simple, transparent, well-communicated processes will significantly increase the likelihood of people acting if they have a concern or believe a child is being harmed.

An organisation’s reporting process must also be known by children and provided in an age- appropriate form.

A clear reporting process includes:

  • what types of behaviour or concerns that need to be reported
  • who within an organisation should be notified of a child safety concern
  • what an organisation’s internal investigation process will involve, and how it will keep records.

The reporting process should also require people to:

  • report suspected criminal child abuse to the police or child protection as soon as possible
  • call triple zero (000) if a child is in immediate danger.

Download our tip sheet: Flowchart: Child Safety Reporting Process (Word, 91kb).