New General Retention and Disposal Authority for Incidents and Allegations of Child Abuse or Neglect

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The State Records Office has developed a General Retention and Disposal Authority (GRDA) for Incidents and Allegations of Child Abuse or Neglect. This GRDA applies to all Western Australian State and local government organisations.
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The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recognised the importance of retaining information about children and their interactions with organisations. Certain information and records may be critical for responding to disclosures of child sexual abuse, including delayed disclosures. 

The Royal Commission recommended that “...state and territory records authorities should ensure that records disposal schedules require that records relating to child sexual abuse that has occurred or is alleged to have occurred be retained for at least 45 years”.  

In response, the State Records Office has developed a General Retention and Disposal Authority (GRDA) for Incidents and Allegations of Child Abuse or Neglect. This document assigns retention periods for records about child abuse cases and allegations and organisations’ actions to maintain a safe environment for children. 

This GRDA applies to all Western Australian State and local government organisations. Non-government organisations are also welcome to use the GRDA as a model for their own retention and disposal policies. 

The GRDA was developed in consultation with the Royal Commission External Implementation Committee, led by the Department of Communities.  

Please note that: 

  • The categories in this GRDA may overlap with other disposal authorities used by your organisation, including the General Disposal Authorities for State Government and Local Government. If certain records are covered in more than one disposal authority, the longest retention period must be applied 

  • A Disposal Freeze for government records relating to children remains in force. The SRO is currently working with government organisations to review their retention and disposal arrangements in line with Royal Commission recommendations.  

If your organisation needs assistance with the management of these records, please get in touch with us at sro@sro.wa.gov.au

Page reviewed 10 February 2021