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13th Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect

Poster abstracts

Listed in alphabetical order by surname

Child Aware Approaches: supporting locally-based solutions for children and families experiencing vulnerability

Mr Brian Babington, CEO, Families Australia, Australian Capital Territory

Ms Stella Conroy, Deputy CEO, Families Australia, Australian Capital Territory

Child Aware Approaches is an exciting national initiative, which aims to embed and promote Child Aware Approaches across organisations, communities, business and governments, to address risk factors for child abuse and neglect, putting the child at the centre and improving the safety and wellbeing of Australia’s children. Child Aware Approaches aims to showcase innovation and promising practice strategies for non-government organisations and local communities to harness their collaborative efforts for improving the safety and wellbeing of Australian children. Child Aware Organisations and Local Communities will be supported to develop locally-based, innovative solutions aimed at addressing early warning signs of vulnerability for children and their families. Using reflective practices and actin learning, it is anticipated that this approach will strengthen community support for improving child wellbeing and safety. Hallmarks of the approach will be collaboration frameworks to enhance community safety for Australian children.

Safe to Cry

Mrs Sue Foley, Senior Social Worker, New South Wales

Ms Jenny Rose, Senior Social Worker, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, New South Wales

Safe to Cry How can the link between crying and parental distress be understood and addressed in the interests of the safety of the child? Should it be assessed before baby goes home? Is information in any form likely to transform the hyper-aroused responses of those stressed by infant crying? How can skills be taught if the person interprets threat when the baby cries or persistently cries? Prevention projects use information and education in the form of a range of products and strategies. This presentation will be a discussion of some hypotheses about the strategies used to assist parents in responding safely to a crying baby. The presenters are part of the Shaken Baby Prevention project in Western Sydney. There are many questions to be asked about when to intervene? How to intervene? Who to intervene with? Is intervening with just one parent adequate? This paper will be a discussion of the dilemmas that this type of intervention creates. The Film produced in Western Sydney will be shown and will participate in the discussion. The presentation will allow participants to critique this tool and consider what evidence there is of the best way to educate. There will be discussion of some of the current literature in this area.

The TTT - Trauma Think Tank

Mrs Sue Foley, Senior Social Worker, New South Wales

The TTT - Trauma Think Tank – a video conference based education - influencing the practices of mental health workers. Meet with us – most Wednesdays’ at 8 am for just 45 or 50 minutes. Bring your coffee and breakfast if you like and together with clinicians around the state of NSW, think about therapy with children, young people and their families who have developed clinical mental health symptoms and have a history of a small t or big T traumatic incident or loss. This poster presentation will tell the story of the Trauma Think Tank, the programs we have used for our education process and the results of an evaluation undertaken. There are many models of working with Trauma and many courses which can be attended. It is hypothesised that this model works well because it is ongoing professional development at which ideas can be synthesised and new knowledge constructed.

Listening, hearing and drawing on things together to work on solutions

Dr Karleen Gwinner, Children & Youth Research Centre QUT

Angela Jegou, Manager, Play a Part, NAPCAN

Strategies to safeguard children and strengthening families by promoting connections between the community, neighbourhood, family, and individuals are recommended to decrease child abuse and neglect from occurring. (Bessarab & Crawford, 2010; Earls, McGuire, & Shay, 1994; MacLeod & Nelson, 2000). Working in partnership, providing localised services and encouraging collective responsibility and action around the social dimensions of child abuse and neglect are principles that underpin a universal emphasis on prevention (Daro & Dodge, 2009; Higgins & Katz, 2008).

Responding to the idea of child friendly communities, the Play a Part (PaP) program is an innovative platform advancing preventative strategies for children and young people. The PaP program is a community engagement strategy. It was piloted between 2007 and 2010 in five southeast Queensland communities, and is currently operating in parts of Logan City and the Redlands region in Australia.

To assess the merit of the program an evaluation-research investigated the PaP initiatives and activities for the prevention of child abuse and neglect. It aimed to evaluate how the program assisted these communities to action and sustain child friendly activities and establish evidence of the program’s positive influence in these communities for families, young people and children.

This poster summarises the prevention framework of the PaP program. The program operates within a prevention framework that guides interventions related to parent-child relationships as well as about how the communities, children and families live in influence social connection and networks, gain access to resources and support, and the encourage inclusive and positive wellbeing for families.

PaP’s work to involve children and young people positions the program as an important forerunner to develop useful agendas for a child-led, rights‐based concept of participation in the prevention of child abuse and neglect.

The prevention framework offers a responsive approach to develop knowledge and substantiate more directly how community prevention activities address complex issues for children, young people and families, and to implement and sustain relevant, comprehensive and effective prevention policies, programs and services.

Development of the Protective Intervention Evaluation Scale (PIES)

Mrs Marion Rabuka, a/Service Manager, Child Protection Counselling Service, SWSLHD, New South Wales


The PIES is a 19-item counsellor-report rating instrument, measuring carer protective factors in child protection and out-of home-care cases. The aim was to develop a psychometrically reliable and valid tool that can be used by social workers and psychologists.


  • 2005: PIES was initially developed as a quality project.
  • 2010: PIES was trialled with 74 scales completed.
  • 2011: data was analysed using SPSS to assess the psychometric value of the tool. Results indicated it was significant for factorability. The underlying construct was protective intervention with high internal consistency reliability within the scale.
  • 2012: the amended tool was reviewed and trialed as a quality project and included multiple administration with the same client to compare progress and inter-rater reliability.


In the 2012 quality project 148 PIES were completed for 94 families. This data is being evaluated, with a review by the CPCS clinical team. The final version will be implemented as a mandatory clinical tool.


The development of PIES fills a gap in clinical measures for use by social workers and psychologists in measuring changes in the protective factors of parent/carer clients.


  • PIES will be submitted as research project for aimed at further evaluation and the development of normative profiles.
  • PIES will be translated into: a carer self-report form; and a case manager report form for trial to increase validity and reliability.
  • The final clinical tool will be available for use across NSW Health Child Protection Counselling Services.

My Very Own Book About Counselling: written and illustrated by Gemma Harrison

Mrs Marion Rabuka, a/Service Manager, Child Protection Counselling Service, SWSLHD, New South Wales


My Very Own Book About Counselling was developed to give children a child-friendly format in which to explore important issues related to counselling, such as the reason for referral, personal boundaries, safety rules, limits to confidentiality, and counselling closure.


  • This project was undertaken by Gemma Harrison, a Senior Child Protection Counsellor.
  • A literature review was conducted however relevant books pertinent to child protection counselling in Australia were unable to be found.
  • A draft version of the book was developed and circulated to other counsellors in the team for feedback.
  • The book was used with clients in initial counselling sessions and feedback from children, parents and carers was very positive.


The book was professionally printed and launched in December 2012 by the CPCS. This book is given to all child therapy clients and used in sessions as an introduction to counselling. This book can be personalised with their own and their counsellors details and is given to the child to keep.


This book allows a more time efficient and focused introduction to counselling and lets children and young people to review these issues outside of the counselling relationship with their parents, carers and caseworkers. It has also assisted the child or young person to establish a sense of safety through the security and predictability that structure provides, increasing engagement and satisfaction within the therapeutic relationship.

Legal Changes to Children Exposed to Domestic Violence in the Child Protection System in Taiwan

Dr April Chiung-Tao Shen, Professor, National Taiwan University

Research Goals:

Exposure to domestic violence has a damaging and long-term impact on children’s emotional, cognitive, social development and adult functioning. Therefore, there is a dire need to provide protective services to children in families with domestic violence. Although Taiwan is the first country in Asia which passed the “Family Violence Prevention and Intervention Act” in 1998, services provided to children exposed to domestic violence have no legal ground in the Act. This study thus aims to promote the legal reforms required to better help children exposed to domestic violence, based on a careful evaluation of their potential consequences and benefits.

Research Design:

The research design integrated qualitative and quantitative research methods in three stages. The first stage collected qualitative data from six focus groups, and a questionnaire was designed according to the qualitative data. The second stage collected national quantitative data via questionnaire from social workers involved in service provision to children exposed to domestic violence in every city in Taiwan in 2012. The third stage proposed legal changes to both public administration and NGO sectors.


Both the public administration and NGO sectors have accepted the author’s motion to amend the Family Violence Prevention and Intervention Act in Taiwan. The modified law will clearly define what constitutes “children exposed to family violence” and protection orders can be granted to these children. The proposed bill was sent to the legislature and is expected to be passed at the end of this year.

Related links

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