Request for Clinical Photographs Guidelines

  • From 1st November 2007, the Victorian Forensic Paediatric Medical Service willcoordinate authorization and processing of requests for copies of clinical forensic photographs of injured children and adolescents. This guideline applies to non-genital photography. All requests from Victoria Police, Child Protection and the Courts for forensic photographs taken by the Victorian Forensic Paediatric Medical Service will be coordinated by VFPMS Administration.

    This will enable a single point of contact for all requests for VFPMS photographs and a coordinated process to ensure appropriate authorization for release of sensitive photo-documentation. In addition, data will be collected to maintain an audit trail to ensure prompt processing of requests. An annual audit will be reported to the VFPMS Governance Committee to ensure efficient and effective management of this aspect of the service.

    The processing of requests within each hospital, including the duplication of photographs and the appropriate labeling and authentication of photo-documentation, will remain the responsibility of the individual photographic department or service (including sub-contracted services) at each hospital.

    How do I get photographs?

    All requests for photo-documentation are to be forwarded to VFPMS Administration by completing

    Fax (03) 9345 4105
    Telephone (03) 9345 4297

    Postal address:

    Royal Children’s Hospital
    Flemington Road
    Parkville Vic 3052

    What can I expect to receive?

    Photographs will be provided in accordance with professional standards for clinical forensic photography (e.g. se of colour chart and measuring scale). Photographs will be provided on a CD which is password protected. The password will be provided to you at the time of receipt of the CD.

    The original photographs will remain part of the child’s health record. Negatives will not be released.

    VFPMS will ensure that each set of photographs / delivery package identifies:

    • Contact name (as provided on the request form)
    • Name of requesting agency
    • Delivery address (as provided on the request form)
    • UR No. as a reference only

    Each photograph will identify

    • UR Number
    • Child’s name
    • Photographer’s name
    • Photo date
    • View the location on the body (e.g. left arm above wrist)
    • The number and sequence (e.g. 6 of 23 )


    Consent for clinical photography must be obtained prior to the procedure. It is the responsibility of treating medical staff to ensure that matters of competency to consent, legal authority to consent, consent from mature minors (in accordance with the Gillick principle) and assent from the child have been obtained. Written informed consent, specific for photo-documentation and release of photographs to Child Protection and Police, is recommended.

    Authorization for release in the absence of parental consent

    When statutory interveners require photo-documentation to investigate suspected child abuse, legislation permits protective interveners to access information without parental or guardians’ consent.

    Photo-documentation may be subpoenaed for court.

    Authorization by VFPMS for the release of photo-documentation is dependent on the purpose for which the documentation is sought and the identification of the professional making the request. Photo-documentation will only be released to protective interveners (Child Protection and Victoria Police) in accordance with the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 and other legislation dealing with Health Records, Health Information, Freedom of Information and Privacy.

    Maintenance of Security of Photo-documentation

    Individual hospitals and photographic departments / services cannot be responsible for photo-documentation once it has been released.

    Note that in Victoria, the media is not bound by the Health Records Act 2001. Under no circumstances should photo-documentation of children or adolescents be released to the media.

    A parent, guardian or child’s access to photo-documentation should be made in consultation with the medico-legal advisors at the hospital where photographs were taken. This is usually provided by the hospital in accordance with the Health Records Act 2001, or Freedom of Information Act.