Assessment of serious risk

How is serious risk established?

Indicators of serious risk to the young person's physical or mental well-being include sexual, physical or psychological abuse. Where there is a serious risk of this occurring if the young person was to live at home, then remaining at home is unreasonable. The claimant need not be the victim of the abuse. It would usually be accepted as unreasonable to expect the claimant to live in a home where other household members have been or are being subject to such abuse.

Where the threat to the person comes from someone outside the family home, such as from a neighbour, serious risk is established after all attempts to avoid the abuse has been made, without success, and the young person has been forced to move.

Example: Banning the neighbour from the family home.

In cases where the claimant alleges, or the assessing officer suspects child abuse, the case must be reported to a social worker. Occasionally an independent third party may report that the young person is seriously at risk of abuse or neglect if they remain in the parental home. Such cases should also be reported to a social worker.

Assessment of serious risk

Assessing officers should not initiate contact with alleged perpetrators of abuse. This could place the young person in unacceptable danger.

The assessment must include:

  • personal contact with the claimant, preferably a face-to-face interview, and
  • parental contact (if not alleged perpetrator), and
  • third party verification, and
  • for Youth Protocol cases, contact with State or Territory child protection agencies.
Last reviewed: 1 July 2020