This page provides important information and resources to support health professionals identify children experiencing vulnerability and respond to their needs.
Learning and support for health professionals
Children at Risk Learning e-Learning Portal
This free portal contains resources and e-learning to support health professionals understand their responsibilities to children and young people experiencing vulnerability.
There are three interactive training modules for health professionals working across Victoria’s health service system:
- Protecting Children: Introductory course on identifying and responding to child abuse and neglect
- Responding to vulnerability: A guide for general practitioners
- Responding to vulnerability: A guide for health and community services providers.
The modules aim to help learners to build skills to:
- identify vulnerable children
- engage with parents about child vulnerability
- respond to suspected abuse or neglect
- understand legislated responsibilities and the child protection and family services system.
Identifying children at risk
Possible indicators of vulnerability, child abuse and neglect
Health professionals are well placed to identify and respond early to children experiencing vulnerability.
Health professionals need to be able to recognise when children may have been harmed, or at risk of harm. There are many indicators of vulnerability, including physical, emotional or behavioural signals that can point to possible child abuse and neglect.
Resources available that outline possible indicators of trauma and abuse include:
- (DFFH) outlines Developmental trends and possible indicators of trauma, impact of trauma for 0 - 18 years of age.
The presence of indicators does not automatically mean the child is at risk of harm. Health professionals should consider these indicators in the context of the family history, and the ability and willingness of the parent or carer to protect the child from harm.
Having conversations with parents about possible concerns for the safety, health and wellbeing of their children is important to ensure that the best interests of children are promoted.
Ask, Listen, Record and Share
Sharing knowledge, communicating effectively, making decisions together and respecting each other means that we are better able to protect children. If you are concerned that a child may be at risk of abuse always consult and seek advice about your concerns. For further information about this approach, complete the training modules in the .
|To ensure that you have not missed any part of the patients experience that may impact on their health care.|
Remain sensitive to the patient’s experience and provide reassurance
Ensure no information is lost and if other professionals are involved, information can be shared.
Sharing our expertise, seeking advice, providing information and making decisions together is the best way to protect vulnerable children.
Sharing information with other services
For information on responsibilities under the child information sharing scheme (CISS), the family violence information sharing scheme (FVISS) and the multi-agency risk assessment and management framework (MARAM), please visit
Royal Children’s Hospital factsheets
These factsheets include:
- for information on responding to child health and wellbeing concerns, including guidance around making reports/referrals
- for information on working together across services
- for more information about medical consent required for children in care
- for information on sharing information across the health services and Child Protection services
Other resources and training focused on identifying and responding to children, young people and families experiencing vulnerability include:
- training specific to health workforces
- - National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health. This is a hub with free evidence-based training, practice guides, webinars, tools, information and news, networks in areas of infant, child and family mental health
- – free resources, including webinars, practice guides and papers that promote evidence-based practice in the family services sector.
- Abuse and violence: working with our patients in general practice (5th edition) is a practical resource developed by the RACGP
- The Department of Fairness, Families and Housing’s
- - National voice for our children
Reviewed 13 September 2023