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Are reports confidential?

The Secretary must keep a written record of each report that is made about concerns for the welfare of a child.

The identity of anyone who reports concerns about a child's welfare to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is protected under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic) and also any information that may lead to their identity.

Restricting evidence in court proceedings

In court proceedings DHHS or witnesses may give evidence about reports made however this evidence must not be given if the matter is in a report that identifies the person who notified DHHS or any other information that could lead to the person who made the report being identified.

Exceptions

However, there are exceptions to this protection in the following circumstances:

  • if the reporter chooses to let the child or family know about the report
  • if the reporter gives written consent to their identity (as reporter) being disclosed
  • if a court or tribunal decides that it needs this information to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the child, or
  • if a court or tribunal decides that it is in the interests of justice that the evidence needs to be given.

Penalties for identity disclosure

The maximum penalty for breaching the confidentiality of a person who made a report is 10 penalty units.

See Value of penalty units

More information

Legislation

Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic)

  • s. 188—record of report to be kept by Secretary
  • s. 189—reporters are protected
  • s. 190—evidence in legal proceedings
  • s. 191—confidentiality

See Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic)(opens in a new window)

Updated