Dear Friend of the ACCP,

As we rapidly move towards the end of the year, it’s an opportune time to rest, rejuvenate and to reconnect with our partners, colleagues and friends. As I reflected in the last edition of ACCP Inform, working in the area of child protection is challenging and it is understandable that at this time of the year, we are all looking forward to the break over Christmas and the New Year period. This time of year can also be challenging for many who have been affected by abuse and neglect; for those of you who will continue to provide care and support to those in need over the Christmas period, thank you. The ACCP will briefly shut down from December 23rd to January 3rd and our team will use this time to renew and recharge to reenergise for our continued quest and work for the coming year, knowing that children and families will continue to be dependent on the work that we do.

This year has been an important one for the ACCP. This year we turned 18! We have continued to grow the breadth and expertise of our team and projects across Australia, including the launch of the WA Branch of the ACCP, the consolidation of our practice team, and the appointment of our inaugural Deputy Director Practice Amanda Paton. This month we have also finalised and launched the new ACCP Strategic Framework 2022-2025: Twenty years and beyond, which guides the Centre’s work across the next 5 years. We understand that while the Centre continues to grow, and contribute to the evidence base and supporting policy and practice, there is always more that we can do. Our new Strategic Framework ensures that we are always looking to the horizon for what we can do better and we look forward to sharing our priorities and plans for the future with you in the next edition of ACCP Inform.

Through the process of developing the Strategic Framework, it has been positive to reflect on the Centre’s evolution from a strong research foundation which has brought new evidence and learnings to the field of child protection, to a Centre which continues to develop internationally leading new evidence to inform the sector, while also leading and supporting new approaches across policy and practice in partnership with the sector. To lead and support our evidence informed policy and practice work, we have built a strong and highly experienced team of teaching and practice staff. Our clinical team, led by Deputy Director Practice, Amanda Paton have been instrumental in developing new online trauma courses to support the sector in leading best practice, and working closely with and alongside the sector in developing new fit for purpose practice tools, resources and solutions. In this edition of ACCP Inform we showcase one of our practice driven projects with the Western Australian Department of Communities, and introduce you to Sian Burgess, a Clinical Psychologist and member of our teaching and practice team, who has played a central role in the development of the online trauma courses.

Finally, I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your support and partnership across this year. Wishing you a happy and safe new year, with time to relax and enjoy the company of your loved ones. We look forward to continuing our work in partnership in 2023 on our mutual and unrelenting quest to improve the lives of vulnerable children.


Professor Leah Bromfield
Director, Australian Centre for Child Protection

ACCP work in focus
Australian Centre for Child Protection Strategic Framework 2022 - 2027

The ACCP has launched its new Strategic Framework 2022-2027: Twenty years and beyond. As the ACCP turns eighteen, the new strategic framework positions The Centre to continue its ground breaking work across the next five years. Learn more in the next edition of ACCP Inform.

Department of Communities WA, Child Protection Pathways Project

In line with the ACCP’s approach to partnering to lead and support change in child protection policy and practice, the Centre recently partnered with the WA Department of Communities (Communities) on the Child Protection Pathways Project. The project sought to develop a blueprint to improve child protection practice, systems and outcomes and lead Communities work for the future. Supporting the strategic alignment of relevant state and national initiatives, the project has established aligned short, medium and long term priorities and focus areas, highlighting how these can be implemented to achieve system change. Through the project, the ACCP worked closely with the Specialist Child Protection Unit and other departmental areas to understand the multiple needs, challenges and barriers to working strategically, in the highly demanding, complex and multifaceted environment of child protection.

PERCAN Online Short Courses

Through the Pursuit of Excellence in Responding to Child Abuse and Neglect, 3 new short trauma courses have been developed and launched since the beginning of 2021. To date successful completions include 737 students across the Understanding Trauma course, 193 across the Assessing Childhood Trauma Course and 80 across the Responding to Childhood Trauma course. The ACCP is proud to support this important initiative to lead and support practitioners and workforce development in this critical area.

Steering Group for Children's Services in Scotland

Prof Leah Bromfield has been appointed as a member of the Independent Steering Group for Children’s Services Research in Scotland. The purpose of the Steering Group is to provide independent direction and oversight to the Children’s Research conducted by The Centre for Excellence for Children's Care and Protection (CELCIS), based at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. This will be used to inform Ministerial decision-making and delivery models regarding children’s services in the context of the introduction of the National Care Service (Scotland) Bill.

National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse Advisory Group

Prof Leah Bromfield recently attended the 2nd meeting of the National Strategy Advisory Group in Canberra. Deputy Director Practice, Amanda Paton and ACCP member, Dr Lesley Anne-Ey also continue their key roles in the National Clinical Reference Group under the National Strategy.

Annual Workshop for Child Protection Liaison Officers and Advisors

Prof Leah Bromfield was recently a guest speaker at the Annual Workshop for Child Protection Liaison Officer and Advisors Conference run by the Children's Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service.

Outcomes Practice Evidence Network (OPEN) Symposium

Prof Leah Bromfield was a keynote speaker for the recent OPEN Symposium. This year’s theme was Maintaining Momentum: Continuing to innovate and build Victoria’s Child and Family Service sector evidence base. Prof Bromfield’s session focused on Shaping the future of child protection: Creating a way forward grounded in the reality of our present, presented research and data illustrating the reality of our present – challenging common assumptions.

'Disclosure' Screening and Panel Discussion

ACCP Deputy Director Practice, Amanda Paton was part of a discussion panel following the screening of the award-winning feature film Disclosure, written and directed by Dr Michael Bentham. The panel discussed whether narrative fiction films can achieve significant impact for social justice.

Improving child-centred record keeping in child protection contexts

ACCP Research Fellow Dr Martine Hawkes, Assoc Prof Joanne Evans and Barbara Reed (Monash University) presented at the 2022 Australian Society of Archivists conference in Ngunnawal Country/Canberra on their collaborative project Caring Records. This project is an interdisciplinary research project looking at practices, systems, education and technologies that can foster child-centered recordkeeping in child protection contexts.

ACCP in the media
Enterprise Magazine - Child Protection: breaking the cycle of harm

Recent cases of alleged neglect have again thrown the child protection system into the spotlight. ACCP researchers say it’s time for a new approach, where holistic support agencies work in partnership with families and communities to break the intergenerational cycle of harm.

Understanding rising child protection notifications

Deputy Director Practice, Amanda Paton recently spoke to ABC Radio Adelaide regarding the rising number of South Australian children being notified to child protection services and the ongoing complexity of family needs and supports.

Sian Burgess

In this edition, we’d like to introduce you to Sian Burgess, a member of the ACCP teaching and practice team. Sian is a Clinical Psychologist and Lecturer of the PERCAN online childhood trauma courses. Learn how Sian gained her passion for improving services and supports for vulnerable children and families and raising awareness of childhood trauma.


As a part of the University of South Australia, Justice and Society Academic Unit’s Wellbeing initiative, ACCP Centre Manager, Lisa McDonald and Admin Officer, Jenny Macpherson recently volunteered at Treasure Boxes. Receiving and sorting donations, Lisa and Jenny saw firsthand the generosity of the community in helping children in need. Treasure Boxes, as a non-for-profit children’s charity, provides essential items to newborns, babies and children living in disadvantage within the community including children going into emergency care. Through gifting essential children’s goods, they alleviate severe hardship, financial burden, reduce the risk of poverty and homelessness, ease trauma and provide hope to those most vulnerable and in need.

Parent's experiences with child protection during pregnancy and post-birth. Child & Family Social Work, October 2022. An article by Sebastian Trew, Stephanie Taplin, Melissa O'Donnell, Rhonda Marriott and Karen Broadhurst into parental experiences in the child protection system and how this input is an important guide to improving child protection practice.

The nature and extent of domestic and family violence exposure for children and young people with disabilityANROWS Research Report, October 2022. A report by Olivia Octoman, Martine Hawkes, Fernando Lima, Melissa O’Donnell, Carol Orr, Fiona Arney, Tim Moore, Sally Robinson, Kyle Valentine, Amy Marshall, Jala Burton and Chris Brebner. Looking at the prevalent experiences of domestic and family violence among child with disability and the scope of potential harm this violence creates.

A Demographic Profile of Mothers and Their Children Who Are Victims of Family and Domestic Violence: Using Linked Police and Hospital Admissions DataJournal of interpersonal violence 37 (1-2), NP500-NP525. January 2022. A study by Carol Orr, Colleen Fisher, Rebecca Glauert, David Preen, and Melissa O’Donnell. Examines key sociodemographic characteristics of Australian mothers and their children who were victims of family and domestic violence that resulted in the male perpetrator being criminally charged for the offense or the mother being hospitalized.

Victim-Survivors, Family and Domestic Violence Service Providers and Support People: Identification of Priority Issues for Research and Translation into Policy and Practice. Global Social Welfare, November 2022. An article by Melissa O’Donnell, Renee Usher, Samantha Burrow, Rebecca Nguyen, Anne McKenzie & Colleen Fisher. This research has endeavoured to capture the views of victim-survivors, FDV service providers and informal support people to guide future research and policy directions in this area.

Review of the Evidence for Neurofeedback Training for Children and Adolescents Who Have Experienced Traumatic Events. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, November 2022. A review by Chantelle Schutz, and James Herbert. The review aimed to determine the populations with which neurofeedback has been implemented, the method of neurofeedback training delivery, and the treatment outcomes for youths who have experienced traumatic events.

Featured Publication

Tailoring service and system design for families known to child protection: A rapid exploratory analysis of the characteristics of families. Child Abuse Review, e2762. May 2022. Report by Olivia Octoman, Fiona Arney, Alwin Chong, Melissa O'Donnell, Jenna Meiksans, Martine Hawkes, Fiona Ward, Cathy Taylor. 

Key Practitioner Messages:

• There is an urgent need to focus on children currently reported to child protection in the context of cumulative harm and chronic exposure they and their siblings may have experienced.
• Examining child protection contact for individual children in isolation will underestimate involvement with child protection and potentially the risks that children face within the family context.
• The proportions of CALD and Aboriginal families in the child protection system require culturally safe systems and services that recognise and can respond to the diverse needs, circumstances and experiences.

Contact and Follow the ACCP

+61 8 8302 2904

Unsubscribe Privacy Accessibility Disclaimer
© 2022 University of South Australia. CRICOS Provider Number 00121B