Expansion of mandatory reporter groups and greater protections for reporters

On 1 March 2020 amendments to the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (Care Act) commenced to expand mandatory reporting groups and provide greater protections for reporters.

These amendments are part of the NSW Government’s Response to recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission).

Who are mandatory reporters?

Mandatory reporters are required by law to report suspected child abuse and neglect to government authorities.  

Mandatory reporters are people who deliver the following services, wholly or partly, to children as part of their professional work or other paid employment, and those in management positions in these services:

Health care — registered medical practitioners, specialists, enrolled and registered nurses, registered midwives, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, dentists and other allied health professionals working in sole practice or in public or private health practices.

Welfare — registered psychologists, social workers, caseworkers and youth workers.

Education — teachers, counsellors, principals.

Disability services – disability support workers and personal care workers

Children’s services — child care workers, family day carers and home-based carers.

Residential services — refuge workers, community housing providers.

Law enforcement — police.

What changed on 1 March 2020?

NSW mandatory reporter groups have been expanded to include:

  • A person in religious ministry or a person providing religion based activities to children (e.g. minister of religion, priest, deacon, pastor, rabbi, Salvation Army officer, church elder, religious brother or sister, Sunday school teacher).
  • Registered psychologists providing a professional service as a psychologist (whether or not exclusively to children).

Greater protections for reporters

The Care Act has been amended to expand protections for reporters. It includes specific protections for reporters who make a report in good faith, against civil liability, criminal liability or retribution. These protections apply to reports or complaints made about child abuse to any institution engaging in child-related work.

Support and assistance

For further information on these changes including how to make a report and the supports available, see Fact Sheet – Child Protection Reporting – Overview of Legislative Amendments.

If you have a specific question about the changes to the Care Act in relation to reporting you can contact the NSW Department of Communities and Justice by emailing cpmandatoryreporting@facs.nsw.gov.au.

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