Mandatory Reporting of Child Sexual Abuse in WA

It is a legal requirement in WA for doctors, nurses, midwives, teachers (including TAFE lecturers), police officers, boarding supervisors, ministers of religion, out-of-home care workers, assessors and departmental officers of the Department of Communities to report child sexual abuse.
Last updated:

New reporter groups are being introduced in stages from 1 November 2022.

Mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse in Western Australia is governed by the Children and Community Services Act 2004  (the Act).

Further information, including the Mandatory Reporting Guide, information sheets and FAQs, is provided on the Mandatory Reporting of Child Sexual Abuse Resources page.

Who are mandatory reporters?

Information on current mandatory reporters in Western Australia.

In Western Australia, it is mandatory for certain professionals to report a belief of child sexual abuse.

Mandatory reporters are:

  • assessors appointed under section 125A of the Act
  • boarding supervisors
  • departmental officers of the Department of Communities
  • doctors
  • ministers of religion
  • nurses and midwives
  • out-of-home care workers
  • police officers
  • teachers (including TAFE lecturers).

Staged implementation of Mandatory Reporters

Mandatory Reporter Group Proposed commencement
School counsellor 1 May 2024
Psychologist 1 May 2024
Early childhood worker 1 November 2024
Youth justice worker 1 May 2025

The Children and Community Services Amendment Act 2021 was passed by Parliament on 14 October 2021 and, among other changes, will introduce new mandatory reporter groups for child sexual abuse.

The mandatory reporting amendments implement recommendations of the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission). In line with Royal Commission recommendations 7.3 and 7.4, the changes will see reporting of child sexual abuse made mandatory for early childhood workers, ministers of religion, out-of-home care workers, registered psychologists, school counsellors and youth justice workers. Assessors appointed under section 125A of the Act and officers of Communities (referred to as Departmental officers) will also become mandatory reporters.

The new mandatory reporting groups are being brought into operation in stages to ensure they receive the necessary training and support to fulfil their new reporting obligations.

Making a report

You can make a mandatory report to the Department of Communities’ Mandatory Reporting Service via the following methods:

A mandatory report can be made in writing or orally. If an oral report is made, it must be followed by a written report as soon as practicable after making the oral report (ideally within 24 hours).

If you are worried about your safety when making a mandatory report, please discuss this with your supervisor or manager and the Western Australia Police.

If you are a professional who is concerned that a child is suffering physical or emotional abuse or neglect, you can report your concerns using the online Professional Referral Form.

Further information about lodging a mandatory report can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions about Mandatory Reporting.

Online training course

Mandatory Reporting Online Training has been developed for:
  • existing mandatory reporters
  • new mandatory reporter groups
  • anyone who wants to learn more about mandatory reporting.

Completion of the training will provide:

  • a foundation to recognise and report a belief, based on reasonable grounds, that a child has been or is continuing to be sexually abused
  • an overview of Western Australia’s child protection system
  • information on:
    • types and effects of abuse and neglect
    • recognising and responding to sexual behaviours displayed by some children
    • responding to disclosures of abuse. 

The training is divided into three parts and each part has two modules. Each module focuses on a key information area followed by a short quiz. Allow up to two hours to complete the training.

If you are not a Department of Communities staff member

Use a computer that you can return to if you don’t finish the training in one sitting. If you change computer or IP address part way through, your progress will not be saved and you will have to restart the training.

At the end of the training, you will be required to enter some demographic information. Please be aware that by providing the Department of Communities with the optional information asked for in this survey, you are agreeing to its possible use in the following ways:

  • as an indicator of how widely the training is being accessed by mandatory reporters, and by which mandatory reporter groups and organisations.
  • as feedback on how successful the training is for preparing new mandatory reporters to meet their reporting obligations.

This information will also generate a completion certificate, which will be emailed directly to the email address you provide.

If you do not receive your certificate, please contact RCMRexpansion@communities.wa.gov.au.

Access the Mandatory Reporting Online Training

This link is not for Department of Communities employees and the training does not require a learning management system account to access.

Department of Communities employees

Access the Compass learning management system to do the Mandatory Reporter Training – Communities Employees (CR.007590) and have your completion automatically recorded.

Interagency training group – information sessions

The information sessions focus on child sexual abuse and mandatory reporting requirements, as well as provide essential knowledge and skills in reporting and responding to all forms of child abuse and neglect.

The Mandatory Reporting Interagency Training Group (MRITG) delivers collaborative information sessions across Western Australia.

The MRITG includes members from across government and non-government agencies, including the Department of Communities, Child and Adolescent Health Services, Department of Education, WA Police, Catholic Education WA and Australian Independent Schools WA. 

Mandatory reporters can register for an information session at MRITG Events.

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