Can I tell someone if I have concerns about a child’s wellbeing?

If you have concerns about a child’s safety or wellbeing, you can report this to an appropriate person or agency (like Police or the Ministry for Vulnerable Children Oranga Tamariki). 

The law specifically allows for such reports to be made. Section 15 of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 states, “Any person who believes that any child or young person has been, or is likely to be, harmed (whether physically, emotionally, or sexually), ill-treated, abused, neglected, or deprived may report the matter to a social worker or a constable.” 

Section 16 of the Oranga Tamariki Act says that if you have made a report under section 15 you are protected against any civil, criminal or disciplinary proceedings as a result – as long as you made the report in good faith. 

The Privacy Act also allows agencies (including individuals) to pass on this type of information (for instance where it is necessary for the purposes of law enforcement, or to prevent or lessen a serious threat to any individual’s safety). 

You can read more about this issue in our blogpost on child safety and on the website of the Ministry for Vulnerable Children Oranga Tamariki (external link)  if you are worried about a child and would like some advice.