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EDU3325 Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect for Helping Professionals

Semester 3, 2022 Online
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Education
Grading basis : Graded
Course fee schedule : https://www.unisq.edu.au/current-students/administration/fees/fee-schedules


Examiner: India Bryce


Enrolment is not permitted in EDU3325 if EDU5325 has been previously completed.


All professionals working with children and adolescents need to have comprehensive knowledge and a clear understanding of child maltreatment and child protection issues, theoretical frameworks underpinning practice, and current models of practice in order to be able to: 1. Recognise indicators of various forms of child abuse; 2. Understand and assess risk and vulnerability in the context of child abuse and neglect; 3. Contribute to intervention procedures (intervention approaches, mandatory reporting and cooperation with the intervening team of specialist agencies/authorities); 4. Apply protection measures and prevention programmes (actively promote, participate and/or apply recommended protective and preventative programmes suitable to human services settings). This course aims to assist helping professionals in becoming more confident in their understanding of child maltreatment. In addition, it will provide them with practical skills in dealing with highly sensitive and complex issues of child and youth victimisation.

The overall aim of this course is to introduce helping professionals to the field of child abuse and associated protection and intervention issues. This course approaches child abuse from a range of perspectives, including ecological, psychosocial, criminological and cumulative risk and provides an advanced study of child abuse phenomenon. The course examines various theoretical frameworks informing the current understanding of child abuse and explores the various context in which child abuse occurs - such as family, peer group, institution and a wider social context. Within these ecological environments students study the risks, indicators and consequences of the broadening scope of child abuse, moving beyond the commonly acknowledged types of abuse; emotional, physical, sexual, neglect and exposure to witnessing domestic and family violence, and including new complexities of online and virtual abuse, trafficking, foetal abuse and institutional abuse. Key professional competencies relevant to the protection of children are addressed, including the roles and responsibilities of the agencies engaged in child protection work, and the prevention and intervention mechanisms which can be employed to protect children in the helping professions. The course is delivered in an online environment, utilising online discussions and virtual classrooms (such as zoom) and also offers practical application opportunities, whereby students explore various ways of dealing with this social problem, with the emphasis on applications within the human services context.

Course learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. Identify and define the broad scope of child abuse and neglect typologies. (Assignment 1 and 2)
  2. Critically explore the effects of child abuse across the lifespan (Assignment 1 and 2)
  3. Criticality analyse the social, political, ethical, and cultural context of child abuse (Assignment 1 and 2)
  4. Determine how knowledge and understanding of child abuse and neglect (local, national and global perspectives) can inform the intervention, protection and prevention processes (Assignment 2)
  5. Review and evaluate the various intervention, prevention and protection process and opportunities relevant the human services context (Assignment 2)
  6. Demonstrate competence in reflective practice, written language and scholarly writing including correct spelling, grammar, and bibliographic referencing (Assignments 1, 2 and 3).


Description Weighting(%)
1. History of child abuse theory, research and typologies 20.00
2. Child maltreatment - understanding child abuse types; prevalence; contextual influences; precipitants and risk; social constructs of maltreatment and abuse; human rights; culture. 20.00
3. Impact of child maltreatment across the lifespan 20.00
4. Child protection contexts and systems – statutory child protection, criminal justice systems, health, mental health, law and education, legislation, criminality of child abuse; systemic protective practice. 20.00
5. Intervention and prevention - processes and procedures; health promotion; creating change; treatment and recovery processes for children; protective behaviours awareness; risk assessment; clinical interventions, working with vulnerable people. 20.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

Bryce, I., Robinson, Y., & Petherick, W 2019, Child Abuse and Neglect: Forensic issues in evidence, impact and Management, Elsevier, London.
Collier S., Bryce, I 2021, Cumulative Harm, the Child, and the Human Services Professional, Cengage, Australia.

Student workload expectations

To do well in this subject, students are expected to commit approximately 10 hours per week including class contact hours, independent study, and all assessment tasks. If you are undertaking additional activities, which may include placements and residential schools, the weekly workload hours may vary.

Assessment details

Approach Type Description Group
Weighting (%) Course learning outcomes
Assignments Written Essay No 40 1,2,3,6
Assignments Written Case Study No 50 1,2,3,4,5,6
Assignments Written Reflection (personal/clinical) No 10 4,6
Date printed 10 February 2023