In South Australia the law concerning the protection of children is contained in the Children's Protection Act 1993 (SA). All references in this section are to this Act unless stated otherwise.
The objects of the Act are to:
- ensure that all children are safe from harm
- ensure that all children are cared for in a way that allows them to reach their full potential
- promote caring attitudes and responses towards children across all sections of the community so that the need for nurture, care and protection is understood, risks quickly identified and support, care or protection provided
- recognise the family as the primary means of providing nurture, care and protection of children
What does the Act do?
The Act gives authority to the relevant Department/Families SA to intervene when a child is at risk. This intervention can take several forms including removing the child from its parents’ care. However, removal of a child should be done as a last resort when all other options have been exhausted.
When is a child defined as being ‘at risk’?
There are four types of child abuse recognised by the Act:
- Emotional abuse
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
A child is considered to be at risk if there is a significant chance it will suffer serious harm to its physical, psychological or emotional wellbeing and it does not have proper protection. This risk may be as a result of abuse, neglect or the inability of a parent or gaurdian to care for and protect a child. Protection includes adequate supervision and control of the child, so if a parent is unable (or unwilling) to provide this then the child can be considered to be at risk. A child under the age of 15 with no fixed address will also meet this criterion, as will a child of compulsory school age who has been persistently absent from school without satisfactory explanation.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.