Report child abuse action 1: Responding to an emergency

​​​​Ensuring immediate safety

If a child has just been abused, or is at immediate risk of harm you must take reasonable steps to protect them. These include:

  • separating the alleged victim and others involved, ensuring all parties are supervised by a service staff member
  • arranging and providing urgent medical assistance where necessary by:
    • administering first aid assistance
    • calling 000 for an ambulance and following any instructions from emergency service officers/paramedics
    • calling 000 for urgent police assistance if the person who is alleged to have engaged in the abuse poses an immediate risk to the health and safety of any person (you should also identify a contact person at the service for future liaison with police).

Preserving evidence

Where an incident of suspected child abuse occurs at the service, you may need to preserve evidence until the police or other relevant authorities arrive on the premises. ​Consider all of the following:

  • Environment: Do not clean up the area and preserve the sites where the alleged incidents occurred. Cordon off the relevant area/room/building and take reasonable steps to ensure that no one enters these areas.

  • Clothing: If sexual abuse/physical abuse is suspected you may also need to ensure that the person who has allegedly committed the abuse and the child who has allegedly been abused remain in their clothing and, if this is not possible, ensure that the clothes are not washed, are handled as little as possible, and stored in a sealable bag

  • Other Physical Items: If there are any other items that may amount to evidence (e.g. weapons, bedding, condoms), try to ensure that these things remain untouched.

  • Potential Witnesses: Reasonable precautions must be taken to prevent discussion of the incident between those involved in the alleged incident (including any other children who may have witnessed the incident). 

Staff supervision will depend on who the incident involves:

  • Incidents with Children​, a staff member should be allocated to remain with each student involved in separate rooms if the incidence involves. See: Children exhibiting inappropriate sexual behaviour (children 10 years and over)

  • Incidents with a staff member, a staff member of the service’s leadership team (if possible) should remain with the staff and the staff member should be instructed not to discuss the incident with anyone. ​​