One of the ugly realities of life is child abuse or neglect. Failure to report the act just because it doesn't concern you can doom the affected child to serious physical harm, psychological suffering, or even fatality. Remember, children are least able to defend themselves or cater for their well-being because they rely fully on their parents and guardians for everything. Therefore, when you suspect a child is facing any form of abuse or neglect, how can you be of help to the child?

Moral and legal obligation

 All human beings have a moral responsibility to report any case of child abuse. Moreover, some states in Australia also make the disclosure of suspected child neglect a legal responsibility among its citizens.  Some are mandated by their occupation to report. These include doctors, social workers, psychologists and school administrators. When reporting, these professionals are expected to give their names as well as occupation since law enforcement gives the information they provide greater interest and necessity compared to reports by other observers.

If you wish to notify law enforcement or child protection agencies about a suspected case of child abuse or neglect, you will need to provide the following details:

  • Your name and career
  • The name and age of the child as well as their place of residence
  • The name or address of the child's parents or caretaker
  • The physical signs of ill-treatment you noticed such as bruises, physical injuries and so on.
  • Any behavioral pointers of abuse and neglect displayed by the child
  • What type of relationship exists between you and the child

Free from liability

Whistleblowers are typically protected from liability provided that they act in good faith. Simply put, if you honestly assumed at the time of notifying the authorities that the health of a child was in danger, even when the concerns are eventually found to be untrue, you cannot be held responsible for speaking out. Family law seeks to encourage people to come out and help mistreated children and understands that reporting can be frowned upon if the whistleblower can be easily charged for doing so. Nevertheless, deliberately raising a false alarm about child abuse could land you behind bars and subject to a lawsuit by the charged parent.

In conclusion, notify law enforcement or local child protection agencies about any suspected case of child abuse or mistreatment. Additionally, speak with a family law attorney about any possible legal implications of making the report and what measures you can take to guard against potential liability.