Consent and Mandatory Reporting for Infants- Children and Young People


The purpose of this essay is to demonstrate the issue of consent and mandatory reporting for infants, children and young people while providing care as a registered nurse (RN). The essay will be discussing of the patient name Patrick Jones (Patrick), he is a 3 months old boy, who is recently admitted to pediatric ward in a Horizon hospital (City of Horizon, 2019) due to continues vomiting for 48 hours with loose stool. This essay is structured in three parts, introduction, body which will include legal constituents of consent and mandatory reporting for infants, children and young people in South Australia. Further, it will include the legal requirement and the process of both in South Australia and the role of a registered nurse.

Body of essay


According to (Women’s and children’s Health Network 2017), informed consent is agreeing to medical treatment and procedure, as well as knowing the benefits and risks or complications of the treatment.  In South Australia, legislation of Consent to Medical Treatment and Palliative Care Act 1995, Part 2—Consent to medical treatment generally Division 1— Consent generally, states that any person of over 16 years age can decide about his or her medical treatment as validly and effectively as an adult (Government of South Australia Attorney General’s Department 2015). However, if the child is over the age of 16 and has a mental disability, parents or legal guardian have to consent on their behalf. In the emergencies situation, if the patient is incapable of consenting, and medical practitioners believe that treatment is necessary to meet an imminent risk to life or health, they are allowed to proceed the further treatment with the written opinion of another medical practitioner (Government of South Australia Attorney General’s Department 2015). According to the big banter, one of the rights for children is to ‘have people do what is the best’ (AHRC, 2013). With 3 months old, Patrick, valid consent from his mother must be obtained. He lives with both of his parents and elder sister. Therefore, as an RN, providing care for Patrick, it’s important to make sure that Patrick’s mother is respectfully involved into her son’s treatment and she’s aware that she has the right to accept or refuse. For the consent to be valid, Patrick’s mother should understand the benefits of medical treatment and risks of the procedure and so that she is not coerced into making a consent. According to the (NMBA, 2016) standard 2.2

communicates effectively, and is respectful of a person’s dignity, culture, values, beliefs and rights and 2.5 advocates on behalf of people in a manner that respects the person’s autonomy and legal capacity

are nursing standards which state effective communication makes a huge involvement of the family centered care, therefore the RN can confirm if the mother has understood and RN can tell her to ask back any questions or concerns regarding treatment (NMBA 2016). RN should have the ability to advocate, mediate and enable healthcare to improve a child’s health outcomes (WHO, 2019). It is RN responsibility to provide Patrick’s mother with all the information she needs in a clear, accurate, simple and appropriate manner (Pena, ALN & Rojas 2014, p.225).

Mandatory reporting

Mandatory reporting is a legal requirement for selected groups of people to report any suspected cases of child abuse and neglect to government authorities (AIFS, 2017). RN is one of the legally mandatory notifiers (AIFS, 2017). In South Australia, if the RN suspect any child has been or being abused or neglected, this includes sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse or psychological abuse it is their responsibility to make a mandatory report (AIFS, 2017). According to Department of Child Protection in South Australia, a mandated notifier does not have to prove that harm has occurred as it is based on suspension (South Australia Department for Child Protection, 2018). This report can be legally done under Sections 6, 10 and 11 of The Children’s Protection Act 1993 (SA) (South Australia Attorney General’s Department, G 2018). RNs can make a report through child Abuse Report Line (CARL). This report has to be suspiciously, which means the RN does not have to tell their name during mandatory reporting. Patrick is generally an unsettled baby who likes to be held constantly. During his assessment, RN noticed that he has less hair in that one part the head and is flattened which is also called occiput (KidsHealth, 2014). This could be due to Patrick spending lot of time on his back without being moved or picked up by the parents that 3 months age child should be. As mother stated herself had a postnatal depression, therefore she might be avoiding Patrick in most of the time. However, to confirm whether he is at risk of neglect from the mother, RN needs to look for more reasons to report. According to the (NMBA, 2016) standard 6.6 states that RNs should use the appropriate process to identify and report any harm related system issues, therefore it is RN ‘s responsibility to have Patrick safe if he is abused or neglected and make a mandatory report via CARL. The big banter has stated the children have right to be safe no matter where you are (AHRC, 2013), therefore it is RNs responsibility to make a report being a mandatory notifier if they see any child been or being abused or neglected.


The purpose of this essay was to demonstrate the issue of consent and mandatory reporting for infants, children and young people while providing care as a registered nurse (RN). To relate the issue, the essay was based on a 3 months old Patrick Jones. According to law, it is confirmed that the legal age in South Australia to give consent to own medical treatment is 16 years age. in that case, it important as an RN provide clear, detailed and simple information to the patients or parents or gradian for their future medical treatment. RN is a mandatory notifier; it their responsibility to make children safe, if they suspect any types of abuse or neglect. Abuse and neglect should be immediately reported via CARL by RN.

Reference List:

  • Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) 2013,

    The Big Banter

    , Australian Human Rights Commission, Australian Human Rights Commission, viewed 7 August 2019, <>.
  • City of Horizon 2019 R 4, computer program, City of Horizon., Novus Res, Adelaide.
  • First International Conference on Health Promotion 1986,

    The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion

    , World Health Organisation (WHO), WHO, viewed 8 August 2019, <>.
  • Government of South Australia Attorney General’s Department 2015,

    Consent to Medical Treatment and Palliative Care Act 1995

    , South Australian Legislation, Government of South Australia, viewed 7 August 2019, <>.
  • KidsHealth2014,

    Flat Head Syndrome (Positional Plagiocephaly), viewed on 14 August 2019


  • South Australia Department for Child Protection 2018, Report child abuse or neglect, viewed on 14 August 2019 <
  • ISSN: 0969-7330>.

  • Mandatory reporting of child abuse and neglect

    2017, Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS), Australian Government, viewed 7 August 2019, <>.
  • Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia 2016, Registered nurse standard for practice, viewed 15 7 August 2019, <>.
  • Pena, ALN & Rojas, JG 2014, ‘Ethical aspects of children’s perceptions of information giving in care’,

    Nursing Ethics

    , vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 245–256.
  • South Australia Attorney General’s Department, G 2018,

    Children’s Protection Act 1993

    , South Australian Legislation, Government of South Australia, viewed 1 August 2019, <>.
  • Women’s and Children’s Health Network 2017,

    Person- and Family-Centred Care Charter

    , Women’s and Children’s Health Network, SA Health, viewed 1 August 2019, <>.

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