The Child Protection Act 1999 requires certain professionals, referred to as ‘mandatory reporters’, to make a report to Child Safety, if they form a reasonable suspicion that a child has suffered, is suffering or is at an unacceptable risk of suffering significant harm caused by physical or sexual abuse, and may not have a parent able and willing to protect them.
Mandatory reporters should also report to Child Safety a reasonable suspicion that a child is in need of protection caused by any other form of abuse or neglect.
Under the Child Protection Act 1999, mandatory reporters are:
Teachers include approved teachers under the Education (Queensland College of Teachers) Act 2005, employed at a school.
Doctors and nurses include those employed in both the public and private health sectors.
Child Safety employees and employees of licensed care services are mandated to report a reasonable suspicion that a child in care has suffered, is suffering or is at an unacceptable risk of suffering significant harm caused by physical or sexual abuse.
The department must provide notifiers from government or non-government agencies, which includes mandatory reporters, with information about the departmental response to child protection concerns reported (Child Protection Act 1999, section 159M). The notifier is to be asked whether they require feedback at the time of the initial contact with the department. If the notifier requests feedback the department must:
The Queensland Government has accepted recommendations accepted recommendations made by the Queensland Law Reform Commission in its report Review of Child Protection Mandatory Reporting Laws for the Early Childhood Education and Care Sector . The report proposes changes to legislative mandatory reporting provisions for child protection concerns to apply to key professionals in the early childhood education and care sector. The government accepts all three report recommendations - two in full (recommendations 8.1 and 9.1) and one in principle (recommendation 9.2).
The recommendations reflect the unique position of early childhood education and care professionals to observe child protection concerns. The Queensland Government will work with the early childhood education and care sector to ensure any changes made are practical and supported by appropriate training and resources.