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Violence against women and their children affects everybody. It impacts on the health, wellbeing and safety of a significant proportion of Australians throughout all states and territories and places an enormous burden on the nation’s economy across family and community services, health and hospitals, income-support and criminal justice systems.


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Research report

Examining the power of Child-At-Risk electronic medical record (eMR) alerts to share interpersonal violence, abuse and neglect concerns: Do child protection alerts help? Research report

Public health services are uniquely positioned to respond to women and children experiencing violence. Access to relevant information about a client’s safety and wellbeing can enhance the quality and appropriateness of that response.

The Northern New South Wales Local Health District (NNSW LHD) developed a new system to identify and support at-risk children and pregnant women who present to health workers. An alert function was built into the health district’s existing electronic medical record system that offered an immediate notification of child safety and wellbeing concerns when the record is accessed. The purpose of the alert is to encourage health workers to talk to the patient concerned, or in the case of children, to their family, about referrals to support services and to share information with other relevant agencies as appropriate.

This project sought to understand the impact of this Child-At-Risk (CAR) electronic Medical Record (eMR) alert information sharing system on outcomes for women and children. This included understanding:

  • how staff responded to seeing Child-At-Risk alerts on a client’s eMR;
  • the practices that were carried out in response; and
  • the perceived outcomes for clients.



Publication details

This work is part of the ANROWS Research reports series. ANROWS Research reports (Horizons) are in-depth reports on empirical research produced under ANROWS’s research program.


Child Protection Manager, Northern NSW Local Health District

Research Assistant, Australian Centre for Child Protection

Research Assistant, Australian Centre for Child Protection

Co-Director, Australian Centre for Child Protection


ISBN: 978-1-925372-86-1 (print) | 978-1-925372-88-5 (online)

58 pp.


Suggested citation

Flaherty, R., Meiksans, J., McDougall, S., Arney, F. (2018). Examining the power of ChildAt-Risk electronic medical record (eMR) alerts to share interpersonal violence, abuse and neglect concerns: Do child protection alerts help? (Research report, 02/2018). Sydney, NSW: ANROWS.

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