School Policies

Protecting Children from Abuse: For Parents and Carers


As adults we all play a critical role in protecting children from harm.

As a parent or carer you have the primary responsibility for protecting and caring for your own children and supporting them to build relationships that are safe and respectful.

You also play a critical role in identifying and responding to suspected abuse within the community. In fact it may amount to a criminal offence if you fail to report suspected child sexual abuse.


What should I do if I suspect that my child has been abused?

If you believe your child has been abused, or is at risk of being abused contact Victoria Police immediately via the local police station or on 000 if it’s an emergency.

What should I do if I suspect that another child has been abused?

If you suspect a child has been abused, or is at risk of abuse (such as physical abuse, family violence or neglect) you should report immediately to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Child Protection (see contact details at the end of this fact sheet).

  • If you suspect a child has been sexually abused, you must also report your concerns to the Victoria Police. You may be committing a criminal offence if you fail to do so.

  • You should report even if you’re not sure. It is the role of authorities to investigate your concerns and determine if any further action needs to
    be taken. 

  • Parents and carers are also often in a position to protect the friends of their children. This is because children are most likely to disclose their experiences of abuse to their peers, who in turn may share this with their own parents and carers.

  • If your child talks to you about their friend, and you suspect that the child is being abused or is at risk of being abused, you should act. You may
    be the only adult in a position to act and your response may be critical in protecting that child’s safety.

What should I do if I suspect that a child is being abused and authorities have previously investigated and dismissed my report?

If you have new grounds for believing that a child is being abused, you should make another report to DHHS Child Protection or Victoria Police. Every report is critical to protecting a child as it builds evidence and helps authorities to gain a clearer understanding of risks to the child.

What happens to my child if someone at the school suspects that my child has been abused?

All staff members at your child’s school are required to report suspected child abuse to DHHS, Child Protection and, in some circumstances, to Victoria Police.

Your child’s school will contact you as soon as possible, unless they have been advised not to do so by DHHS, Child Protection and/or Victoria Police.

Where appropriate the school will work with you to ensure your child is provided with support, which may include referring them to wellbeing professionals.

When is it a criminal offence to not report suspect abuse?

Any adult may face criminal charges if they believe that another adult has committed a sexual offence against a child under 16 years of age and does not report this information to the police.


What is child abuse?

Child abuse:

  • can include physical abuse, sexual abuse, grooming, emotional or phychological harm, neglect or family violence

  • does not have to involve physical contact or force (e.g. child sexual abuse can include talking to a child in a sexually explicit way)

  • can be committed by any member of the community, including someone within a child’s family or someone within the school setting.

The trauma associated with child abuse can significantly impact upon the wellbeing and development of a child. This is why it is critical that we all respond immediately to any form of suspected abuse.

What are the signs that a child has been abused?

There are a range of physical and behavioural indicators of child abuse.

Most importantly you should act if you notice anything that causes you to form a reasonable belief that a child has been, or is at risk of being abused, including (but not limited to):

  • a change in a child’s behaviour (e.g. withdrawal, regressive behaviour, or non-age appropriate sexual behaviours)

  • physical indicators of abuse (e.g. unexplained bruises, welts, signs of malnutrition)

  • an inappropriate relationship between an adult and a child (e.g. inappropriate physical contact, unexplained gifts or phone/email contact). 


How must schools respond to suspected child abuse?

All staff in Victorian schools are obligated to respond to any incident or suspicion of child abuse as outlined below:

  1. Respond to the emergency
    Address any immediate health and safety needs (e.g. administer first aid or contact emergency services).

  2. Inform authorities
    Report any reasonable belief that a child has been, or is at risk of being abused to the DHHS Child Protection or Victoria Police.

  3. Contact parents/carers when appropriate
    Contact parents/carers once authorities advise that it is safe and appropriate to do so.

    Ideally parents/carers will play a central role in providing support for their children, however schools will be instructed not to contact parents/
    carers in circumstances where this may impede an investigation or place the child at greater risk.

  4. Provide ongoing support for all children impacted by the abuse
    Provide appropriate support for all children impacted by abuse. This will likely include ongoing counselling from professionals.

    The child’s ongoing support will be documented in a Student Support Plan.

These actions are outlined in further detail in Identifying and Responding to All Forms of Abuse in Victorian Schools.

Are the staff at my child’s school required to report child abuse?

Yes – all staff at your child’s school are required by law to report any reasonable belief that a child has been abused, or is at risk of abuse.

In some circumstances, it may be a criminal offence for school staff to fail to report child abuse to the authorities.


What can I do to help educate and protect my child from abuse?

Have a chat to your child and make sure that he or she knows that no one is allowed to threaten, hurt or touch them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.

Every relationship should be respectful and no one should behave in a way that makes them feel unsafe or afraid.

Your child’s school will also be supporting your child in learning about their rights to be safe and respected. Victorian government schools are teaching the Respectful Relationships program which promotes positive attitudes and behaviours and is aimed at preventing family violence.

What should I talk about when I explain safety to my child?

There are some things you can do at home to build your child’s understanding of safe and respectful relationships including:

  • talking openly with your child about their feelings and relationships

  • being sure that they understand you will listen and act if they are concerns about how anyone is treating them

  • using the correct names for body parts and having age-appropriate conversations about touching and sexual activity

  • letting your child know that adults should never harm or act in a sexual way with any child.

Keeping children safe outside of the home or school

You play a critical role in ensuring your children are spending time in safe places.

In Victoria all people who are working with your children such as coaches and music teachers need to have a current Working With Children Check.

You may like to check that any staff and volunteers spending time with your child after school hours and on weekends have a valid Working With
Children Check.

If you think that you may need some help to keep your children safe from harm and support their healthy development, it is important you find some help. Visit the Victorian Government’s Better Health Channel for information on seeking support. See


Where can I go for more information and support?

You can contact DHHS Child Protection and Victoria Police directly to discuss any concerns you may have for the wellbeing of a child (see contact details on the next page)

If you have any concerns about your child or another child at your child’s school talk to the principal or another staff member at the school about your concerns. You can also raise this matter with DHHS Child Protection and the Victoria Police.

For further information on where to go for support to keep your children safe from harm visit the Victorian Government’s Better Health Channel:

For more information on:

If you are concerned or unsure about your school’s response and/or would like to talk to someone outside of the school please contact:



24 Hour Services

Victoria Police 000
Department of Health and Human Services Child Protection 131 278

Catholic Education

Archdiocese of Melbourne: (03) 9267 0228

  • Office of Professional Conduct, Ethics & Investigation
  • Legal Services
  • Student Wellbeing Information Line
  • Communications & Marketing Unit (Media Advisor)

Diocese of Sale (03) 5622 6600
Diocese of Ballarat (03) 5337 7135
Diocese of Sandhurst (03) 5443 2377

Independent Schools

Independent Schools Victoria (03) 9825 7200

Department of Education and Training Regional

North Eastern Victoria
General enquiries 1300 333 231
Benalla office (03) 8392 9500
Glen Waverley office (03) 8392 9300

North Western Victoria
Bendigo office (03) 5337 8444
Coburg office (03) 9488 9488

South Eastern Victoria
Dandenong office (03) 8765 5600
Moe office (03) 5127 0400

South Western Victoria
General enquiries 1300 333 232
Ballarat office (03) 5337 8444
Footscray office (03) 8397 0300
Geelong office (03) 5225 1000
Horsham office (03) 5310 5300
Warrnambool office 1300 333 232


Department of Health and Human Services Child Protection


Local Government Areas (LGAs)

Phone No

Northern and western suburban

Banyule, Brimbank, Darebin, Hobsons Bay, Hume, Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Melton, Moonee Valley, Moreland, Nillumbik, Whittlesea, Wyndham, Yarra.

1300 664 977

Eastern suburban LGAs

Boroondara, Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Monash, Whitehorse, Yarra Ranges.

1300 360 391

Southern suburban LGAs

Bayside, Cardinia, Casey, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Kingston, Mornington Peninsula, Port Phillip, Stonnington.

1300 655 795

West Rural and Regional LGSs

Ararat, Ballarat, Golden Plains, Hepburn, Hindmarsh, Horsham, Moorabool, Northern Grampians, Pyrenees, West Wimmera, Yarriambiack, Colac-Otway,
Corangamite, Glenelg, Greater Geelong, Moyne, Queenscliffe, Southern Grampians, Surf Coast, Warrnambool.

1800 075 599

North-western rural and regional LGAs

Buloke, Campaspe, Central Goldfields, Gannawarra, Greater Bendigo, Loddon, Macedon Ranges, Mildura, Mount Alexander, Swan Hill.

1800 675 598

North-eastern rural and regional LGAS

Alpine, Benalla, Greater Shepparton, Indigo, Mansfield, Mitchell, Moira, Murrindindi, Strathbogie, Towong, Wangaratta, Wodonga.

1800 650 227

Eastern and south-eastern rural and regional LGAs

Bass Coast, Baw Baw, East Gippsland, Latrobe, South Gippsland, Wellington.

1800 020 202

Child First


1800 705 211


1300 783 341


1300 783 341


(03) 9450 0955

Bass Coast

(03) 5662 5150

Baw Baw

1800 339 100


1300 367 441


1800 705 211


1300 762 125


1300 138 180


1300 665 218


1800 260 338


(03) 9705 3939

Cardinia - Aboriginal children and families

(03) 9794 5973


(03) 9705 3939

Casey - Aboriginal children and families

(03) 9794 5973

Central Goldfields

1800 260 338


(03) 5232 5500


(03) 5232 5500


(03) 9450 0955

East Gippsland

(03) 5152 0052


1300 721 383


1300 665 218

Glen Eira

1300 367 441


1300 543 779

Golden Plains

1300 783 341

Greater Bendigo

1800 260 338

Greater Dandenong

(03) 9705 3939

Greater Dandenong - Aboriginal children and families

(03) 9794 5973

Greater Geelong

1300 551 948

Greater Shepparton

1300 854 944


1300 783 341


1800 195 114

Hobson's Bay

1300 775 160


1800 195 114


1300 786 433


1800 705 211


1300 367 441


1300 369 146

La Trobe

1800 339 100


1800 260 338

Macedon Ranges

1800 260 338


1300 762 125


1800 705 211


1300 775 160


1300 369 146


1300 775 160


1300 138 180


1300 625 533


1800 663 107


1300 854 944


1300 762 125

Moonee Valley

1300 775 160

Macedon Ranges

1300 783 341


1300 786 433


1300 721 383

Mornington Peninsula

1800 260 338

Mount Alexander

1300 543 779


1800 663 107


(03) 9450 0955

Northern Grampians

1800 195 114

Port Phillip

1300 367 441


1300 783 341


1300 551 948

South Gippsland

(03) 5662 5150

Southern Grampians

1300 543 779


1300 367 441


1300 854 944

Surf Coast

1300 551 948

Swan Hill

1300 665 218


1800 705 211


1800 705 211


1300 543 779


(03) 5144 7777

West Wimmera

1800 195 114


1300 762 125


(03) 9450 0955


1800 705 211


1300 775 160


(03) 9450 0955

Yarra Ranges

1300 369 146


1800 195 114

Other Services

Centres Against Sexual Assault (CASA) – Emergency Counselling & Support Line

1800 806 292

Australian Childhood Foundation

1800 176 453

Children’s Protection Society

(03) 9450 0900

Child Wise

(03) 9695 8900

Vic Aboriginal Education Association

(03) 9481 0800

Child Safety Commission

1300 782 978

Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner

1800 880 176

Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA)

(03) 9287 8800

Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organinsation (VACCHO)

(03) 9411 9411

Sexually Abusive Behaviour Treatment Services Providers:

Aust Childhood Foundation

(03) 9874 3922

Children’s Protection Society

(03) 9450 0900

Berry St

(03) 5822 8100

Mallee Sexual Assault

(03) 5025 5400

South Eastern CASA

(03) 9928 8741

Ballarat CASA

(03) 5320 3933

Barwon CASA

(03) 5222 4318

Campaspe CASA

(03) 5441 0430

Gippsland CASA

(03) 5134 3922

Goulburn Valley CASA

(03) 5831 2343

Upper Murray CASA

(03) 5722 2203

Wimmera CASA

(03) 5381 9270



Links Policy: Protecting Children from Abuse: For Parents and Carers
Author Assistant Principal
Reviewed May 2016
School Council Approval n/a All schools are required to follow DET guidelines
Next review date May 23
References DET Protecting Children from Abuse

How to enroll your child at Frankston SDS

How to enroll your child at Frankston SDS

Enrolment at Frankston SDS is based on specific eligibility criteria. Should you wish to discuss eligibility please feel free to contact the school. We look forward to your call.