To make a report to child protection a person needs to have formed a reasonable belief that a child has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm as a result of abuse or neglect, and that their parent has not protected or is unlikely to protect the child from harm of that type. A reasonable belief does not require proof.
For immediate help
- To report concerns that are life threatening, ring Victoria Police: 000
- To report concerns about the immediate safety of a child after hours, call the After Hours Child Protection Emergency Service: 13 12 78.
When to make a report
Child protection receive reports about children when there are concerns the child is in need of protection. A child in need of protection is a child who has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm as a result of abuse or neglect, and their parent has not protected or is unlikely to protect the child from harm of that type.
To make a report to child protection a person needs to have formed a reasonable belief that a child has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm as a result of abuse or neglect, and that their parent has not protected or is unlikely to protect the child from harm of that type.
Information provided to child protection when a report is made needs to be sufficiently detailed for child protection to identify the child at risk of harm.
Where concerns relate to an alleged perpetrator of abuse, who may pose a risk more generally to all children, the concerns should be reported to Police.
Contact Child Protection
In Victoria, reports to child protection must be made to a protective intervener, or other appropriately delegated officer. Reports cannot be made via the department’s social media, website or email, as staff who monitor the department’s website are not delegated officers. Almost all reports are made to child protection by phone.
To make a report, you should contact child protection at the office that covers the local government area (LGA) where the child normally resides.
Telephone numbers to make a report during business hours (8.45am to 5pm), Monday to Friday, are listed below.
- North Division: 1300 598 521
- South Division: 1300 555 526
- East Division: 1300 360 452
- West Division: 1300 360 462
If you are not sure which number to call, check the Child protection contacts page for details on the LGAs covered by each intake service.
If you're worried about a child’s wellbeing, but don’t believe the child needs protection
If you have significant concern for the wellbeing of a child, but do not believe they are at risk of significant harm, and where the immediate safety of the child will not compromised, a referral to The Orange Door (replacing Child FIRST) may be appropriate.
The Orange Door provides families assistance with the care and wellbeing of children, including those experiencing family violence, to contact the services they need to be safe and supported.
Referring to The Orange Door is appropriate where families are:
- experiencing significant parenting problems that may be affecting the child's development
- experiencing family conflict, including family breakdown
- under pressure due to a family member's physical or mental illness, substance abuse, disability or bereavement
- young, isolated or unsupported
- experiencing significant social or economic disadvantage that may adversely impact a child's care or development.
The identity of a reporter must remain confidential unless:
- the reporter chooses to inform the child or family of the report
- the reporter consents in writing to their identity as the reporter being disclosed
- a court or tribunal decides it needs this information in order 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.
Failure to disclose child sexual abuse offence
The criminal offence for failure to disclose child sexual abuse came into effect on 27 October 2014. Any adult who forms a reasonable belief that a sexual offence has been committed in Victoria by an adult against a child under 16 years of age must report that information to police unless they have a reasonable excuse. A reasonable excuse may include fear for safety or where the information has already been reported.
The offence applies to all adults in Victoria, not just professionals who work with children.
For information on how abuse can be recognised, see You and your child: a guide for parents of a child who has been sexually abused in the Related resources section of this page.
Allied health providers, see Reporting concerns to child protection allied health providers factsheet in the Related resources section of this page.