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As outlined in the South Australia mandatory reporting guide, certain people have a legal obligation to report a suspicion that a child or young person is, or may be, at risk, where this suspicion occurs in the course of their work or when carrying out official duties.
Mandated notifiers are legally required to notify the Department for Child Protection if they suspect on reasonable grounds that a child or young person is, or may be, at risk.
Under the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 (Safety Act), the following people are mandated notifiers:
- medical practitioners
- registered or enrolled nurses
- police officers
- community corrections officers
- social workers
- ministers of religion
- employees or volunteers in an organisation formed for religious or spiritual purposes
- teachers employed to teach in a school, preschool or kindergarten
- employees or volunteers in an organisation that provides health, welfare, education, sporting or recreational, child care or residential services wholly or partly for children, being a person who:
- provides such services directly to children or young people
- holds a management position in the organisation and supervises or has direct responsibility for providing those services to children and young people.
- An officer or employee of a prescribed organisation (Safety Act section 114) who holds a management position in the organisation and supervises or has direct responsibility for providing services to children.
Organisations must have in place policies and procedures to make sure mandated notifiers make appropriate reports if they suspect that a child or young person is, or may be, at risk.
Policies and procedures should include:
- adequate information to help people identify when children and young people may be at risk and procedures for reporting this
- what support is available for children and young people, staff and volunteers when a report is made
- procedures for dealing with concerns of children or young people at risk perpetrated by an employee or volunteer.
Some organisations offer formal mandatory notification training for staff and volunteers as best practice.
Safe environments - through their eyes training has been developed by the department to provide training suitable for organisations providing services to children and young people. You can access this training by contacting one of the public providers on the Safe environments – through their eyes public provider list (PDF 358KB).
During the response to Covid-19, some training providers are delivering the Safe Environments – Through Their Eyes training using video technology (Zoom, Teams, or Skype). The Department of Human Services supports this delivery methodology. Employees are often required to have undergone this training before starting work and we will continue to find innovative ways to support delivery of the training.
Other training options include:
- Strategies for Managing Abuse Related Trauma (SMART) training is a free online course about supporting children and young people in a range of settings
- Play by the rules is an online course for people involved in sport and recreation
- Child safe officer training is a course run by the office for recreation and sport for organisations and clubs.
Organisations can also have an employee complete a train the trainer workshop and become qualified to deliver training to other staff and volunteers.
When offering formal training for everyone in the organisation is not possible, other strategies can be put in place, including:
- offering formal training only to employees who regularly work with children or young people
- ensuring all staff and volunteers have read and have access to the South Australia Mandatory Reporting Guide
- including child protection as a standing item on team meeting agendas
- sharing relevant articles or information about issues relating to child protection.