Message from the Chief Commissioner


Sexual offences and child abuse

Release date: Fri 8 June 2012

Last updated: Wed 23 August 2017

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What is a sexual offence?

Sexual offences are generally defined as a sexual activity that a person has not consented to, and it can refer to a broad range of sexual behaviours that make the victim feel uncomfortable, frightened or threatened. Sexual offences can include rape, incest, indecent offence, child sexual offence and sexual molestation.

Click here for more information on sexual offences.

What is child abuse?

Child abuse is an act or omission that endangers a child's physical or emotional health or development. By definition, abuse is not an accident, but neither is it always the intention of the person to inflict harm or injury.

Child abuse may be physical, sexual or emotional, and may occur through neglect and in some cases harm may be accumulative.

Click here for more information on child abuse.

Mandatory Reporting

There are many professionals who are legally required to report suspected child abuse to the Department of Human Services (DHS) Child Protection Service. Such professionals include:

  • Police
  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Teachers

Any person who suspects child abuse can contact DHS Child Protection Service to make a report.  

What is Human Trafficking?

The United Nations define human trafficking as, "The acquisition of people by improper means such as force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them."

Human trafficking affects men, women and children and may involve slavery, sexual servitude, labour exploitation and debt bondage.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has dedicated human trafficking teams in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Click here for more information, or to report suspected human trafficking.

In an emergency call Triple Zero (000).

For more information see

Sexual Assault Crisis Line (SACL) (24 hours) 1800 806 292
1800 Respect (24 hours) national telephone line for victims of sexual assault & family
Victims of Crime Help Line (7 days, 8am-11pm) 1800 819 817
e-Safety Commissioner
Child Protection Service DHHS (24 hours) 131 278
Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre (24 hours) for women and children: 24 hour support 1800 015 188 or 9322 3555
Kid's Help Line 1800 551 800 


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