- Treat the child for their infection and investigate for other STIs.
- Always ensure a subsequent test of cure.
- Remember there will be another person, probably an adult, who is also infected and who requires contact tracing.
- As a health care provider, you have a responsibility to assist in protecting children who may be victims of child sexual abuse. The occurrence of an STI in a child is strong, circumstantial evidence that abuse is occurring.
- If you require advice about forensic examination please contact the Child Protection Unit at Princess Margaret Hospital on 9340 8646.
Mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse has been introduced by amendments to the Children and Community Services Act 2004(the Act) (external site). From Thursday 1 January 2009, doctors, midwives, nurses, teachers and police officers ('reporters') are legally required to make a report in accordance with the Act when they have formed a reasonable belief that child sexual abuse has occurred or is occurring. The Act places the responsibility for making a report on the reporter. There is a clear duty for all health professionals to appropriately manage child abuse or neglect.
When to make a report
Reporters must make a report if they have formed a belief on reasonable grounds and in the course of their work, that a child:
- has been the subject of sexual abuse that occurred on or after Thursday 1 January 2009
- is the subject of ongoing sexual abuse.
Reports must be made to the Department for Child Protection, which is required under the Act to provide the Western Australia Police with a copy of the report.
Evidence of abuse is not required to make a report. Reporters should not conduct an investigation to establish if there is evidence, as this may jeopardise subsequent investigations by the Department for Child Protection or the Western Australia Police.
Reporters who fail to report a belief that a child is being sexually abused commit an offence and can be fined up to $6000 [s124B(1)].
It is very important to note that mandatory reporting of sexual abuse does not substitute for an STI report in a child under 14 years of age, or in a child aged 14 and up to 16 years of age if sexual abuse is reported and vice versa. If sexual abuse is suspected both reports must be submitted. If there is no abuse only the STI report in a child under 14 years of age is required.
For further information and contact
Please refer to the following documents:
Please contact the Department of Child Protection on 1800 708 704 regarding making a mandatory report.