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Gather information from a notifier

Obtain information from the notifier and assess if there is information to reasonably suspect a child is in need of protection. A child in need of protection is a child who:

  • has suffered significant harm
  • is suffering significant harm
  • is at unacceptable risk of suffering significant harm
  • does not have a parent able and willing to protect them from the harm.

For concerns about an unborn child, assess whether there is information to reasonably suspect the unborn child may be in need of protection after he or she is born.

When speaking to the notifier, use your knowledge of the framework for practice tools (refer to the practice guide Framework for practice), practice guide Intake prompts: assessing harm and risk , and the screening criteria and response priority definitions in the SDM Policy and procedures manual, to guide the conversation.

Gather the following information from the notifier:

  • whether they are making a mandatory report. (Refer to Mandatory reports and the practice guide Notifiers and mandatory reporting.)
  • their contact details so they may be re-contacted, if needed
  • accurate identifying information about the subject child, family, household members and other relevant persons, including their: 
    • full name, aliases and nicknames
    • age and date of birth
    • address or whereabouts
    • gender
    • cultural identity
    • whether they are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person
    • relationship to the child
  • details and concerns about any other child or unborn child in the household
  • contextual information about: 
    • the child, including specific vulnerability due to age, disability or other factors 
    • the parent, including risk, strengths and demonstrated acts of protection 
    • the harm, including specific descriptions of injury or behaviour, where relevant
    • the child and family’s environment. 

If the notifier is from a government or non-government agency, ask if:

Report information to the Queensland Police Service

Immediately report to the QPS information received:

  • about alleged harm to a child that may involve the commission of a criminal offence relating to the child. This is required under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 14(2). If unsure about the need to report, report the matter.  (Refer to practice guide Schedule of criminal offences.)
  • from a Queensland Health paediatrician about suspected harm or risk of harm resulting from fabricated or induced illness. (Refer to Information about fabricated or induced illness.)

Consider the following to decide if a report to the QPS is required:

  • Is alleged harm identified for the child?
  • Does the possible criminal offence relate to the alleged harm to the child?
  • Harm can be caused by physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse or exploitation, psychological or emotional abuse (Child Protection Act 1999, section 9).

Report a matter to the QPS:

  • regardless of who is allegedly responsible for the harm
  • irrespective of the intake response
  • even if the notifier has or intends to report the matter to the QPS.

To make a report:

  • Complete a Police referral and attach relevant documents.
  • Forward the referral, requesting a read receipt, to the Officer in Charge of the nearest: 
    • Child Abuse and Sexual Crime Group (for Brisbane metropolitan CSSCs)
    • Child Protection and Investigation Unit (CPIU)
    • Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB)
    • police station.

If a read receipt is not received:

  • Telephone the QPS
    • confirm receipt of the information
    • discuss any possible action required
    • record the police job number or name of the person contacted.
  • Create an intake form in ICMS and attach the police referral.
  • Document the information received and action taken.
  • Assess and decide the appropriate intake response. 

Provide information to the Office of the Public Guardian

Provide information reported to the QPS, excluding notifier details, to the OPG as soon as possible, or within 1 business day, if the information is about a child subject to any of the following:

  • a child protection order
  • an assessment order
  • a temporary custody order
  • a care agreement.

Provide the information by emailing and telephoning the relevant regional visiting manager. Refer to the OPG—Regional Visiting Manager contact details.


All adults in Queensland have a legal obligation under the Criminal Code Act 1899 to report sexual offending against a child by another adult to the QPS. 

Referring a matter under the Child Protection Act 1999,  section 14(2) satisfies this obligation.

Inform the notifier of their legislative protections

Inform the notifier that:

  • their confidentiality is protected under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 186, unless exceptions apply
  • they are protected from liability under the Child Protection Act 1999, section 197A if acting honestly and reasonably, they give information that they suspect: 
    •  a child has suffered harm, is suffering harm or is at risk of suffering harm
    • an unborn child may be at risk of harm after he or she is born.

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