A crucial part of the role of all teachers is to respond effectively to children and young people whose safety and wellbeing may be at risk, or who are in need of protection.
All registered teachers in Victoria are mandated to report to the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, Child Protection. Registered teachers must report if they form a reasonable belief that a child or young person is in need of protection from physical injury or sexual abuse and the child’s parents are unable or unwilling to protect the child from that abuse.
Other reporting obligations
All adults, including registered teachers, are mandated to report to the Victoria Police if they form a reasonable belief that another adult has committed a sexual offence against a child under 16 years of age in Victoria.
Conduct reporting obligations can vary for members of the community (parents, students/learners), registered teachers, schools and early childhood (EC) services.
A range of scenarios have been developed to assist the above cohorts in understanding who to report to regarding the conduct of a registered teacher, school or EC service, and which organisations are involved following a report.
A registered teacher who occupies a position of power or responsibility in a school or early childhood service has an obligation to reduce or remove a substantial risk that a child may become the victim of a sexual offence committed by an adult who is associated with the school or early childhood service.
The Victorian Teaching Profession’s Codes of Conduct and Ethics support all teachers to understand the expectations of the teaching profession and the community in relation to their professional conduct, personal conduct and professional competence.
Professional learning undertaken for creating and maintaining supportive and safe learning environments should meet descriptors 4.4, 6.2, 6.4, 7.1 and 7.2 of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST), however it may meet other descriptor(s) of the APST depending on the type of professional learning undertaken.
The Protecting Children - Mandatory Reporting and Other Obligations eLearning modules are available for all school and early childhood staff to alert them to their responsibilities for protecting the safety and wellbeing of children and young people and enable them to
- identify indicators that a child or young person may be in need of protection
- make a report about a child or young person who may be in need of protection, and
- comply with reporting obligations under child protection law and criminal law and fulfill their duty of care.
All staff working in schools and early childhood settings within Victoria – particularly those with mandatory reporting obligations – are strongly encouraged to regularly undertake and complete the relevant online module
Teachers are encouraged to undertake the module that is most appropriate for their current teaching context. The content in each is consistent except for the setting, so there is no need to complete both modules.
For more information and resources about the eLearning module, the Child Safe Standards and other resources, visit the PROTECT page.
Last updated: 23 Feb 2023