Reporting and protection

Reporting obligations

Services need to be familiar with their reporting obligations in relation to children and adults exposed to sexual, domestic and family violence.

Check policies and laws regularly

In most states and territories, there are legal requirements for service sectors. In addition, departmental policies may require staff to report children or adults who are targets of domestic and family violence to the police or child protection agencies. Managers should be familiar with all relevant reporting policies and laws. Staff should be updated regularly. Many services have ongoing supervision or case conferencing around these issues.

Keep a record

Appropriate record-keeping relating to disclosures of sexual, domestic and family violence is important for service risk management. Detailed records also support information sharing processes and potential legal actions relating to criminal charges or family law parenting matters.

Privacy is always an issue to consider. You should take into account privacy laws, other laws (for example, the Family Law ACT 1975) and confidentiality policies. Also be aware of limits to confidentiality for:

  • Child protection purposes
  • Reporting of serious injuries where a criminal offence may have been committed
  • Information sharing for the purpose of promoting client safety, where this is appropriate under state or territory laws or local Memoranda of Understanding (MOU)

Other confidentiality issues include:

  • The potential use of service or professional records as evidence in criminal or family law proceedings
  • Security of storage, including electronic or cloud storage
  • Therapeutic or service needs