This is a list of areas of concern categorised by types of harm.

Document ID number 2977, version 2, 3 July 2017.

NOTE: With the introduction of SAFER children framework on 20 November 2021, areas of concern was replaced with Essential information categories. The areas of concern list continues to remain as a reference to assist child protection practitioners understand information on CRIS prior to 20 November 2021.

Absence of carer – abandonment

  • child has been abandoned.

Absence of carer – other

  • child's parents are dead
  • child's parents are incapacitated.

Physical injury

Type of harm

  • likelihood of physical harm
  • bites
  • bone fracture
  • brain damage
  • bruise (visible)
  • burns/scalding
  • cut
  • female genital mutilation
  • female genital mutilation - likelihood
  • haematoma
  • head injury
  • internal injuries
  • paralysis
  • poisoning
  • red mark
  • sprain/dislocation
  • welt
  • other physical injury.

Actions leading to harm

  • attempted drowning
  • attempted suffocation or strangulation
  • family violence - risk of or actual physical injury
  • forced marriage - risk of or actual physical injury
  • hit with an object
  • inappropriate discipline
  • kicked
  • mutilation
  • pulled
  • punched
  • severe inappropriate discipline
  • shaking
  • struck with hand
  • taken to conflict zone
  • thrown
  • torture
  • tying or close confinement
  • other action leading to injury.

Sexual abuse

Type of harm

  • likelihood of sexual abuse
  • contact with registered sex offender
  • developmentally inappropriate sexual activity
  • fondling
  • promiscuity
  • sexual harassment
  • sexual molestation
  • sexual offending (by child)
  • sexual penetration
  • sexual violence towards other
  • sexually transmitted disease
  • unsafe or dangerous to self sexual activity
  • other form of sexual abuse.

Actions leading to harm

  • commercial sexual exploitation including prostitution
  • exposure to pornography
  • exposure to sexual activity
  • forced marriage - risk of or actual sexual activity
  • grooming behaviour towards child
  • inappropriate sexual behaviour by child towards a child of similar or older age or adult
  • inappropriate sexual behaviour by child towards a younger child
  • incest
  • involving child in masturbation
  • sexual exploitation
  • sexual harassment
  • sexual offending
  • sexual penetration of a child under 10 years
  • sexual penetration of a child under 16 years
  • taken to conflict zone
  • other sexually abusive action.

Emotional or intellectual development

Type of harm

  • likelihood of significant emotional harm
  • absconding
  • aggressive behaviours
  • bed wetting
  • depression
  • disorganised or insecure attachment to primary carer
  • eating disturbance
  • educational development or learning impaired or delayed
  • emotional or behavioural development impaired or delayed
  • emotional trauma
  • feeling anxious
  • feeling fearful
  • feeling ostracised
  • feeling rejected
  • feeling scapegoated
  • feeling unsafe
  • fire lighting
  • frozen watchfulness
  • hurting animals
  • impulsive behaviours
  • indiscriminate attachment behaviour
  • high risk activities
  • lowered self esteem
  • mood or personality change
  • negative or limited activities or interests
  • not attending or not engaged with kindergarten or school
  • post traumatic symptoms
  • radicalising towards violent extremism
  • regressive behaviour
  • self blame
  • self harm
  • self hatred
  • sense of future distorted or impacted upon
  • shame regarding sexual abuse
  • sleep disturbance
  • social development or presentation impaired or delayed
  • social isolation
  • soiling
  • substance abuse (child)
  • suicidal action
  • suicidal ideation
  • trust issues
  • unspecified reported history of abuse or neglect
  • violent behaviours
  • withdrawn
  • other concerning acting out behaviour
  • other somatic symptoms of emotional trauma
  • other emotional or psychological harm.

Emotional or intellectual development continued

Actions leading to harm

  • alleged perpetrator has access to child
  • coercion/manipulation
  • chaotic family lifestyle
  • excessive blaming of child
  • excessive criticism of child
  • exposure to violent extremist ideology
  • exposure to parental mental illness
  • exposure to parental substance abuse – emotional or psychological impact
  • family violence – emotional or psychological impact
  • forced marriage
  • fragmented family
  • humiliation of child
  • involving child in criminal behaviour
  • involving child in violent behaviour
  • lack of adequate education
  • lack of attachment with child
  • low warmth
  • parental low self esteem
  • physically abusive behaviour towards child
  • primarily negative interactions with child
  • rejection of child
  • scapegoating of child
  • sexually abusive behaviour towards child
  • taken to conflict zone
  • threats to child
  • threats to kill a child
  • unreasonable or unrealistic expectations of child
  • unresponsiveness to child’s emotional needs
  • verbal abuse of child
  • other action leading to emotional or psychological harm.

Physical development or health

Type of harm

  • likelihood of significant harm due to absence of basic care
  • born drug dependent
  • dehydrated
  • educational delay
  • failure to thrive
  • foetal alcohol syndrome or related condition
  • homelessness
  • hypothermia
  • impaired or delayed physical development
  • inadequate personal hygiene
  • induced or fabricated illness
  • lack of adequate clothing
  • lack of adequate food / fluids
  • lack of adequate shelter
  • malnutrition
  • pre-natal or post natal exposure to psychoactive drugs or alcohol
  • substance misuse on child
  • untreated medical needs
  • other harm to physical development or health.

Actions leading to harm

  • deliberate or callous exposure to heat or cold
  • exposure to parental mental illness
  • exposure to parental substance abuse
  • failure to ensure appropriate access to medical care or treatment
  • failure to ensure safety
  • failure to prioritise child's needs over own
  • failure to protect from harm or danger
  • failure to provide adequate clothing
  • failure to provide adequate food or fluids
  • failure to provide adequate shelter
  • failure to provide adequate supervision
  • failure to provide basic care
  • family violence - physical development or health impact
  • forced marriage
  • poor understanding of infant or child physical or health needs
  • taken to conflict zone
  • other action leading to harm to physical development or health.

Parent or carer capability – issues or areas of difficulty


  • alcohol abuse
  • criminal offending (other than sexual offending)
  • family isolated
  • family violence
  • financial difficulties
  • history of abuse or neglect as child
  • intellectual disability
  • non-biological parent as carer
  • other child died in parents care
  • other child removed from parent
  • physical or sensory disability
  • poor parenting skills or knowledge
  • poor physical health
  • poor understanding of infant or child needs
  • psychiatric illness or psychological disturbance
  • sexual offending
  • substance abuse
  • transient or homeless
  • views concerns less seriously than child protection
  • violent extremism
  • young parent(s) – under 20 years at time of birth of first child.

Actions leading to harm

  • attitude to child inappropriate
  • difficulty with ensuring safety of child
  • difficulty with exhibiting warmth and affection to child
  • difficulty with problem solving
  • difficulty with providing basic care for child
  • difficulty with providing consistency and reliability
  • difficulty with providing guidance and boundaries for child
  • difficulty with providing stability
  • difficulty with providing stimulation for child
  • exposing child to violent extremism
  • previous parenting issues
  • taking child to conflict zone
  • other parenting issue.

Cumulative harm

Cumulative harm refers to the effects of multiple adverse or harmful circumstances and events in a child’s life. The unremitting daily impact of these experiences on the child can be profound and exponential, and diminish a child’s sense of safety and wellbeing. For further guidance, see Cumulative harm.

Sexually abusive behaviours exhibited

  • inappropriate sexual behaviour by child towards a younger child
  • inappropriate sexual behaviour by child towards a child of similar or older age or adult
  • sexual offending.

Additional information

Cumulative harm

Practice Dictionary Definition