Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


This course covers the knowledge and skills required to practice in services that form part of child protection services such as: prevention and early intervention services; tertiary and statutory agency work; domestic violence services; health services; and the family law system. It introduces students to: explanatory theories; definitions and effects of child abuse and neglect; examining assessment; risk of harm and responding to child abuse; out of home care systems; outcomes and effectiveness; working with Indigenous families; and practice frameworks. Issues of child protection are placed in a social and political context and the impact of class, gender and ethnicity are highlighted in terms of the process of policy development, implementation and practice frameworks.



  • Semester 1 - 2022


  • Semester 1 - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Describe and critique the social, political and cultural context of responses to child abuse

2. Demonstrate an understanding of the effects of child abuse

3. Analyse the complex and multi-layered issues involved in defining child abuse and neglect

4. Evaluate current perspectives on the effects of child abuse

5. Identify and critique types, purposes and effectiveness of services (early to late intervention) available in the local area for responding to child welfare


This course will include the following topics:

  • History of Child Protection / Child Welfare in Australia
  • Defining Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Effects of Child Abuse
  • Child Abuse and Neglect: Explanatory Theories
  • The Construction of Child Abuse
  • Assessment, Risk and Harm and Responding to Child Abuse
  • Domestic Violence – A Child Protection Perspective
  • Examine policy shifts and dilemmas concerning removing children and family preservation and restoration 
  • Outcomes and Effectiveness
  • Out of Home Care
  • Systems Abuse
  • Aboriginal Families and Child Welfare
  • Issues of Diversity and Difference
  • Practice Frameworks
  • Skills and Practices
  • Managing Child Protection Work: The Human Costs of Managerialism



If you have successfully completed SPSW3402 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

40 units at 1000 level

Assessment items

Written Assignment: History and definition of child abuse - 30%

Online Learning Activity: Online discussion - response to scenario - 30%

Written Assignment: Critical Analysis - 40%

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks starting in week 1



Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks starting in week 1

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.