NSW Health is committed to promoting the health, safety and wellbeing of children and young people.
Children and young people form one of the most vulnerable groups in our society. It is essential that NSW Health workers identify, consult and respond to instances where a child or young person is at risk of significant harm (ROSH). Common reasons for children and young people to be at risk of significant harm include:
The impact of violence, abuse and neglect can span across all domains of a child’s development. Children who experience violence, abuse and neglect are more likely to have problems with:
NSW Health works with government agencies and non-government organisations (NGOs) to prevent and mitigate the effects of violence, abuse and neglect on children and young people. NSW Health does this by implementing child protection programs, contributing to child protection policies, and working with children and young people that are at risk of significant harm.
The Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 establishes the legal responsibility of NSW Health workers to:
While prenatal reports are not mandatory, the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 allows for reporting of child protection concerns before birth. This is to facilitate assistance and support to expectant parents and reduce the likelihood that the child, when born, will need to be placed in out of home care.
In addition to the legal responsibilities under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998, the Crimes Act 1900 was amended in 2018 to introduce new offences of concealing a child abuse offence (section 316A, also known as 'failure to report' offence) and failing to remove the risk that a worker will commit a child abuse offence (section 43B). These changes are expected to have minimal impact on current reporting obligations for NSW Health workers. For further information about these offences and the obligations of NSW Health workers, please refer to New child abuse related offences - failure to report and failure to protect.