Concerned about a child or young person?

A ‘Concern’ means having any information that indicates a child (0-15 years) or young person (16-17 years) may be at risk of harm, abuse, or neglect. This includes when you are working with adults or families that have relationships with, or care of children.

A concern includes information that:

  • You have personally seen or heard i.e. a person we serve tells you something or you witness something when meeting with a family.
  • Another person e.g. child, young person, parent or third party has seen, heard or experienced something and told you.
  • Other information that indicates child or young person may be at risk of harm.

All members, volunteers, or employees must report:

  1. Any concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a child and young person.
  2. Any concerns about the behaviour of Society Personnel (Members, volunteers, or employees).
  3. Any breach of the Safeguarding Child and Young People Policy or Child Safe Behaviours.

Concerns relating to the safety, welfare, and well-being of children/ young people may relate to:

  • Emotional/ Psychological abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Neglect
  • Carer concerns
  • Risk to an unborn child
  • Danger to self or others

Some concerns that you may see or hear about in your work as a member that should be reported to 1800 4SUPPORT:

  • Someone tells you (i.e. discloses) that they are worried about a child/ young person or that the child may be being mistreated.
  • A child/ young person is homeless or at risk of being homeless, this includes families with children.
  • A family is unable to provide food, clothing or medical care for children or young people.
  • A child/young person is not attending or enrolled in school.
  • Domestic violence in the home is suspected or has been disclosed. The child does not have to witness or be personally involved to report it.
  • Concerns about a parent/ carer’s mental health or substance use issues.
  • A parent or discloses a history of abuse in relation to their children – even if they say it has already been reported.
  • A parent/ carer is feeling overwhelmed with caring for their child and is unwilling or unable to continue to care for them.
  • Concerns about the health and well-being of a woman that is pregnant, including homelessness, substance use, mental health, domestic violence or financial challenges.
  • A child/ young person maybe engaged to be or is married; and/ or a young person is pregnant.
  • A child/young person’s behaviour, such as them acting out, being socially withdrawn, feeling sad or anxious, or harming themselves or others in some way.
  • A child has injuries like cuts, bruises, broken bones, burns. Especially, when those injuries are on the head/ face, genital area or the explanation of the injury is inconsistent or vague.
  • A child displays sexualised behaviours or is talking about sexual topics that are inappropriate for their age. This may include talking of, or having seen pornography.
  • Relationships with family members or peers that are problematic or that may be inappropriate, including showing favourtism or where there may be unexplained gifts for a child/ young person.

It does not mean that this concern is proven or that action will always be required but wherever a concern arises the situation MUST be assessed by an appropriately trained person” (Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy 2020 p. 19).

Concerned about a vulnerable adult such as an elderly person or a person with a disability? Contact the Safeguarding Team (below) for guidance and support. 

The Safeguarding Team is here to support you with this, so please contact us with any concerns or questions relating to families, children, or young people.

What do I do if I have concerns?

a. In an emergency or after hours: (an emergency is any immediately life-threatening Situation)

  1. Call 000 immediately (only in an emergency).
  2. Alert Regional Director as soon as possible.
  3. Report to Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ or ‘FaCS’) Child Protection Helpline– 132 111 (available 24 hour/ 7 days).
  4. Report to 1800 4SUPPORT as soon as practically possible on (1800 478 776) OR childprotection@vinnies.org.au.

b. If it is NOT an emergency:

  1. Contact the Safeguarding Team on 1800 4 SUPPORT.
    (1800 478 776) OR childprotection@vinnies.org.au.
    1800 4SUPPORT is available 9 am- 4 pm Monday- Friday.
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