In this section
The following information is provided in relation to psychosocial assessments for children seen by forensic paediatricians and forensic physicians in the context of forensic paediatric medical (FPM) evaluations. This information relates only to the psychosocial aspect of the FPM assessment; recognising that other aspects of FPM evaluations will not be addressed by this discussion document.
A psychosocial assessment is a key component of every forensic paediatric medical assessment.
Each FPM evaluation should be tailored to an individual child’s needs and circumstances. A comprehensive evaluation of a child’s health, growth, development, behaviour, psychological status and their social circumstances should be part of the scope of each FPM evaluation.
All children are vulnerable to the effects of adversity and disadvantage. Some children, by virtue of their genes, environment and psychological functioning, are more vulnerable than others. One of the key goals of a FPM evaluation is to identify vulnerability, respond and refer to services to improve a child’s resilience and reduce their vulnerability to harm.
Each FPM evaluation report should include recommendations about the child’s future care and involvement with services. The FPM practitioner should organise for the child (and their carers) to access recommended services.
The knowledge base on which a psychosocial assessment is constructed builds on shared information. Many practitioners in the health, welfare, education, child protection and criminal justice systems contribute to this knowledge base and utilise the same information in their assessments.A FPM evaluation is NOT an evaluation of risk of harm using the Victorian Risk Assessment Framework (this role is respectfully viewed as being in the domain of Child Protection) nor is it an evaluation as to criminality (this role is respectfully viewed as being in the domain of Victoria Police).
A psychosocial assessment (in the context of a FPM evaluation) is an appraisal of a child’s developmental level, psychological functioning and the social circumstances in which he/she lives.
FPM paediatricians/physicians must have the ability to:
FRACP or equivalentsee RACP requirements for physician training specific training in child development and behaviour and in child protection
FRACGP or equivalent with training in paediatric medicine