Conducting the risk assessment


Follow this procedure when conducting the risk assessment during the investigation phase.

Document ID number 1046, version 1, 20 November 2021.


The risk assessment only occurs once, with the decision to substantiate or not substantiate harm during the investigation phase.

A risk assessment is required to be recorded in CRIS for the following investigation outcomes:

  • Not substantiated – NFA
  • Not substantiated – significant concerns for wellbeing – referral for service
  • Unable to complete investigation
  • Substantiated – case planning required
  • Substantiated – protection application issued.

If no first home visit is attempted during the investigation phase, a risk assessment is not required to be completed. A rationale within the SAFER statement for not completing a first home visit is to be recorded on CRIS.

Any risk assessments completed after the initial risk assessment are called ‘review risk assessments’ in CRIS.

See Risk assessment – advice for further information.


Case practitioner tasks

Use the information stored in the essential information categories and obtained by seeking, sharing, and sorting information to:

  • Record the vulnerability of the child, severity of harm, likelihood of harm and safety information in CRIS. Refer to the SAFER children framework four dimensions of analysis (pages 42-51) for guidance.
  • Determine the consequence of harm and record in CRIS (severe, significant, concerning, or insufficient evidence of harm).
  • Determine the probability of harm and record in CRIS (very likely, likely, or unlikely).
  • Consider the MARAM assessment as part of the overall risk assessment.
  • Analyse the relationship between the consequence and probability of harm to determine the substantiation decision and record in CRIS.
  • Refer to the Consequence, probability and decisions matrix for guidance.

If the consequence of harm judgement is rated as either severe or significant, and the probability likely or very likely, the child or young person is considered in need of protection, and the case is substantiated against the relevant grounds as set out in s.162 of the CYFA.

Within the harm essential information category, harm must be confirmed in order to substantiate against it. When harm is confirmed, the case is substantiated.

  • Consult with your supervisor or team manager to determine the substantiation decision and record it in CRIS.
  • Where the risk assessment is not yet completed, and a new allegation (familial or non-familial) is received:
    • include this in the risk assessment
    • investigate the allegation concurrently to the concerns and allegations raised in the initial report.
  • Where the risk assessment has been completed, and a new allegation has been completed (familial or non-familial) consider undertaking a review of the risk assessment.
  • Update the essential information categories as required when new information is received.

Supervisor tasks

  • Provide ongoing supervision and consultation.

Team manager / practice leader tasks

  • Provide ongoing supervision and consultation.
  • Endorse the substantiation decision and risk assessment.