Identifying unacceptable or concerning behaviour

Trigger warning: information and resources included on this page contain explicit descriptions of abuse and may cause distress for some people.

If you need to talk to someone, it is recommended that you speak to your GP or another allied health professional, or speak to a trusted adult.

Identifying child abuse and neglect

Risk of harm within the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 relates to the impact of abuse and neglect on a child or young person.

For descriptions of different types of abuse and an explanation on how to make a mandatory report visit the NSW Mandatory Reporter Guide.

The department provides additional guidance about how to recognise indicators of abuse and neglect in children of different age groups.

Grooming of children and staff

Grooming behaviours may indicate there is a risk of child abuse. Grooming is intended to manipulate and control a child, their family and other support networks (including service staff and educators), with the intent of gaining access to the child, and obtaining their compliance and silence in order to avoid abuse being discovered.

Source: Office of the Children’s Guardian, ‘Codes of Conduct: a guide to developing child safe Codes of Conduct’ (2020).

Grooming can be a crime. It has a specific definition in New South Wales criminal law which includes using alcohol or gifts, or exposing a child to indecent material in order to procure sex from them.

Read more about grooming and unacceptable behaviours in the Codes of Conduct resource by the Office of the Children’s Guardian.


  • Early childhood education

Business Unit:

  • Early Childhood Outcomes
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