Tips for children and young people on how to make a complaint
Making complaints can be hard for children and young people but it is important so people can learn and so mistakes can be corrected. It is especially important to complain if you do not feel respected or safe.
If you feel unsafe or at risk and need help urgently, call the Police on 000 or Crisis Care on 1800 199 008.
Click on the following links for more information on how to speak out:
- When should I complain?
- How do I complain?
- What should happen when I make a complaint?
- Where do I make my complaint?
Read what children and young people told the Commissioner about making complaints and how they helped to make new resources about speaking up:
Speaking Out About Making Complaints
You can also watch the two videos below on how to make a complaint, which have been made especially for children and young people.
When should I complain?
- You might be unhappy about the way you have been treated.
- Someone made a mistake and won’t fix it.
- You may be feeling unsafe and people won’t listen.
- You might have had a disagreement that is causing you stress.
“I think complaining is something that when you don’t really like something and if you complain about it, might get better but if you never complain you never know.” Young person
A complaint to an organisation can be about:
- a product
- a service
- the way you are treated
- any problems you have had giving feedback, getting help or having a problem fixed.
How do I complain?
It’s normal to feel worried or not sure about making a complaint. Children and young people have told the Commissioner they are often nervous and are not sure what type of response they may get.
“[You’ll feel] mixed emotions probably because one part of you might be going, ‘uh oh am I going to get into trouble?’ and the other part might be relief because, ‘thank gosh somebody’s actually doing something about it’.”
“[You might be anxious] because you might not know if anything has been done, because if the [place] doesn’t take you seriously you might not know if anything has been done about it.”
Click to download the brochure, which outlines the steps to make a complaint.
What should happen when I make a complaint?
The people who are responsible for receiving complaints from children and young people should:
- listen and be respectful when you are telling them about your concerns
- be understanding and encourage you to explain your situation in your own time
- believe what you are saying, take it seriously and note it down
- be helpful and offer advice and information about the complaints process, what their next steps will be and what you can expect to happen
- take action, do what they said they would do and act on your complaint
- keep you informed by contacting you when they say they will and let you know of progress.
It’s okay to tell an adult politely if you don’t think they are doing these things well.
Tell them how you feel.
Where do I make my complaint?
Where do I make a complaint about services or organisations in the community?
Check the website of the organisation
Most organisations have complaint forms on their websites to help you make a complaint. To find a form on a website look for the words feedback, comments or contact us.
This complete list of government agencies may help you find the right organisation to make your complaint.
The Ombudsman Western Australia
The Ombudsman provides advice and information to help people make complaints to WA Government organisations and to understand what happens after a complaint is made. Contact the Ombudsman.
There are many organisations that can help you make your complaint.
We can also give you advice about who can help you. We cannot get involved in individual complaints about other organisations but we will try our best to find someone who can help you, please phone us on (08) 6213 2297 or email the Commissioner.
We make sure we keep the information you share with us private, unless we think you or another child or young person is unsafe – we will tell you when we need to share the information with other organisations that can help protect you.
Where do I make a complaint about the Commissioner for Children and Young People or his team?
The Commissioner's Service Commitment to Children and Young People tells you what you can expect from our team when we are working with you.
The Commissioner and his staff are happy to listen to whatever you want to say to us. If your complaint is about us, please phone us on (08) 6213 2297 or email the Commissioner.
When you make a complaint about us, we will let you know how we will listen to your complaint and respond.