The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia. 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 risk 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 are unsuccessful, 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 or a member of the leadership team. 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 or a member of the leadership team.

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 an interview
  • parental contact (except where this presents a severe risk to the young person or others, such as siblings)
  • third party verification, and
  • for Youth Protective Assessment cases, contact with state or territory child protection agencies.

Act reference: SSAct section 1067A(9)(a)(i) Unreasonable to live at home

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