- If you have any information about child abuse, contact Tasmania Police on 131 444.
- Reporting your concerns as soon as possible may stop or prevent the abuse of a child or young person.
- It is a crime in Tasmania if an adult does not report an abuse offence to police as soon as possible.
- The Tell Someone website has more information and advice for children and young people, and adults about child sexual abuse and grooming and how to report it.
We are committed to protecting the rights of all children and young people, and keeping them safe from harm. This page outlines behaviours which may indicate a child or young person is at risk of abuse. Reporting your concerns as soon as possible may stop or prevent the abuse of a child or young person.
We shouldn’t be afraid to discuss concerns about child abuse, but it can be a confronting topic. Please seek advice or support if any of the content on this page is causing you distress:
Advice and support
- Beyond Blue – Call 1300 224 636 or visit the Beyond Blue website
Mental health and wellbeing organisation supporting those affected by anxiety, depression and suicide.
- 1800 Respect – Call 1800 737 732 or visit the 1800 Respect website
Support and information for anyone affected by sexual assault, or domestic or family violence
- Lifeline – Call 13 11 14 or visit the Lifeline website
24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention.
- Sexual Assault Support Service Inc (SASS) – Call 03 6231 1811 / 03 6231 0044 or visit the SASS website
Southern-based community service organisation providing support and information to survivors of sexual abuse.
- Laurel House – Call 03 6334 2740 / 03 6431 9711 or visit the Laurel House website
Northern and north-western-based sexual abuse and sexual assault support service.
- Knowmore – Call 1800 605 762 or visit the Knowmore website
Free legal advice for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.
Signs of potential child abuse
Everyone in the community has a part to play in keeping children and young people safe from abuse.
But how do you know what to look for?
Abuse isn’t always easy to see and can be hard to identify. But it’s important to look for signs that something might not be right. A child or young person may show:
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Drug or alcohol misuse
- Poor self-care or hygiene
- Unexplained injuries
- Low self-esteem
There are three broad categories of conduct that have the potential to cause harm to children and young people. They are:
- physical harm or touching (direct or indirect contact, intervention or restraint)
- psychological harm by way of inappropriate verbal or unauthorised communication
- sexualised harm by way of sexual abuse, including grooming
It is important that you take notice of any unusual or suspicious behaviour. If something makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, you should discuss this with the Strong Families Safe Kids Advice and Referral Line (ARL) on 1800 000 123.
Inappropriate relationships between adults and children and young people
Some behaviours which may seem motivated by good intentions should be avoided because it can increase the risk of harm to children and young people. These include:
- inviting children and young people to your home or attending their home without an appropriate reason and without the consent of their parent/carer
- attending parties or regularly socialising with children and young people that aren’t members of your family
- transporting a child or young person in a car without an appropriate reason and prior approval from a parent/carer
- communicating with a child or young person through SMS or social media without an appropriate reason and without their parent/carer’s knowledge.
Concerning or grooming behaviour
Behaviour that could be interpreted as grooming or an intention to groom is unacceptable and is an offence under the Tasmanian Criminal Code Act 1924.
Look out for signs that someone is trying to spend more time with a child or trying to get close to them.
Grooming behaviour may include:
- singling out a child or young person for special treatment
- spending more time with a child or young person without an appropriate reason
- giving gifts or special favours to the child or young person
- allowing the child or young person to overstep accepted rules
- asking the child or young person to keep secrets
- increasing the type or frequency of physical contact with a child or young person.
It’s not just children and young people who can be groomed. An abuser might also try to groom their target’s family or support networks by befriending them and building trust to make them believe they have their best interests at heart.
Abusers are often known to the child or young person, or their family.
Abusers will try to mislead people who are close to the child and are likely to deny anything inappropriate has occurred when challenged about their behaviour.
Don’t ignore behaviour that could be grooming or abuse. Tell someone. Report it to the Tasmanian Strong Families Safe Kids Advice and Referral Line (the ARL) on 1800 000 123 and Tasmania Police on 131 444.
You have the power to take action, protect a child from harm and stop abuse.
What to do if you suspect grooming or abuse
- The Tell Someone website has more information and advice for children and young people and adults about child sexual abuse and grooming and how to report it.
- Report it to the Tasmanian Strong Families Safe Kids Advice and Referral Line (the ARL) on 1800 000 123, and also
- Report it to Tasmania Police on 131 444.