Close search

Search the handbook

  • 22 Rights in Society – from discrimination to intellectual property
  • Child Protection
  • Children’s Rights
  • Child Safety and Children
handbook symbol Tasmanian Legal

In this chapter Expand current chapter list below

Child Safety and Children

Child Safety has responsibility for the assessment of reported situations where it is suspected that a child is at risk of physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect. Responsibility includes children under the age of 18 years.

Child Safety can be contacted on 1300 737 639 at any time. If you believe, suspect, or know a child may be at risk of abuse or neglect an online notification can also be made.

The CYPFA requires certain groups of professionals to notify Child Protection of any child whom they have reason to believe has suffered, or is at risk of suffering maltreatment (see Mandatory Reporting).

Child ‘At Risk’

The CYPFA provides the following definition of a child ‘at risk’ (s4):

  • the child has been, is being, or is likely to be, abused or neglected; or
  • any person with whom the child resides, or who has frequent contact with the child (whether the person is or is not a guardian of the child):
    • has threatened to kill or abuse or neglect child and there is a reasonable likelihood of the threat being carried out; or
    • has killed or abused or neglected some other child or adult and
    • there is a reasonable likelihood of the child in question being killed, abused or neglected by that person.

A child will also be ‘at risk’ where the guardians of the child:

  • are unable to maintain the child; or
  • are unable to exercise adequate supervision and control over the child; or
  • are unwilling to maintain the child; or
  • are unwilling to exercise adequate supervision and control over the child; or
  • are dead, have abandoned the child or cannot be found after reasonable inquiry; or
  • are unwilling or unable to prevent the child from suffering abuse or neglect;
  • the child is under 16 years of age and does not, without lawful excuse, attend school regularly.

Ex-nuptial children

A child is presumed to be the child of a man and woman if they were married when the child was born or conceived, or if they marry after the child’s birth (s89Marriage Act 1961 (Cth)s5Status of Children Act 1974). However, all children have equal status in law whether they are born to a married couple or any other form of relationship (s3Status of Children Act 1974).

The Status of Children Act 1974 sets out to remove any legal discrimination against ex-nuptial children. The relationship between a child and their parents is to be determined irrespective of whether the parents were married or not. In particular, ex-nuptial (children born outside marriage) children have equal rights with nuptial children to inherit from their parents under a will or on intestacy. They can make applications under the Testators Family Maintenance Act 1912 (Tas). The Status of Children Act helps children identify their fathers by providing for voluntary recognition of paternity and legal presumptions of paternity, notably arising from cohabitation (that is, living together) during the period around the child’s conception (Part II of the Act).

The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) provides for ‘parentage testing’ procedures (blood and DNA tests) which the courts can require to be performed if the parentage of a child is in dispute under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) or the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 (Cth).

Page last updated 16/12/2023

Next Section What is Abuse or Neglect?