Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit extends pre-service teachers’ preparation as mandatory reporters of child abuse. It is intended that participants in this unit will have an understanding of the wide range of child protection issues including sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, domestic violence and bullying. Participants will also explore the context of prevention for a range of risk situations and the implementation of personal safety programs. Legislative and policy reform in the area of child protection and wellbeing is also addressed within the context of prevention. The unit extends pre-service teachers’ knowledge and skills in providing supportive and challenging learning environments for vulnerable children and young people.

The aim of this unit is to assist pre-service teachers expanding their understanding of their role as mandatory reporters of child abuse by providing a focus on the identification and provision of services for those children and young people considered to be at risk of harm.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - demonstrate understanding of the context of prevention and the implementation of teaching and management practices to reduce risk and enhance protective factors within classrooms and school communities (GA5; APST 1.3, 4.1)

LO2 - understand the individual and collective ethical and legal responsibilities of teachers with regard to sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect and domestic violence (GA3, GA5; APST 7.1, 7.4)

LO3 - demonstrate understanding of the need to be reflective about and sensitive to the dignity, diversity, strengths and particular needs of vulnerable children and young people, their families and carers (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5; APST 1.3, 4.3, 5.2, 7.3)

LO4 - critically examine definitions of risk, risk, vulnerability and resilience in relevant legislation and practice guidelines and research in ethical, informed decision-making (GA3, GA4, GA5; APST 4.4, 7.1)

LO5 - identify and critically appraise community and student-based prevention strategies and available assistance for addressing risk and creating supportive learning environments for differing groups of vulnerable children and young people (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5; APST 1.3, 1.5, 4.1, 6.2, 7.4).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of teaching strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.

1.5 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities. 

4.1 Identify strategies to support inclusive student participation and engagement in classroom activities.

4.3 Demonstrate knowledge of practical approaches to manage challenging behaviour.

4.4 Describe strategies that support students’ well-being and safety working within school and/or system, curriculum and legislative requirements.

5.2 Demonstrate an understanding of the purpose of providing timely and appropriate feedback to students about their learning.

6.2 Understand the relevant and appropriate sources of professional learning for teachers.

7.1 Understand and apply the key principles described in codes of ethics and conduct for the teaching profession.

7.3 Understand strategies for working effectively, sensitively and confidentially with parents/carers.

7.4 Understand the role of external professionals and community representatives in broadening teachers’ professional knowledge and practice.


Content will be designed to ensure that students can achieve the learning outcomes for the unit. Topics may include:

  • Identification of children at risk (protective and risk factors)
  • Relevant national, state and education system legislation, practice guidelines and services
  • Legal and ethical responsibilities of teachers including mandatory reporting procedures and working effectively with parents/carers
  • The context for prevention programs and strategies
  • Incidence and indicators of different forms of abuse and risk
  • Sexual abuse – myths and responses
  • Physical abuse, neglect and emotional abuse
  • Bullying and sexual harassment
  • Impact of trauma and forced relocation and trauma-informed support and strategies
  • Support in and beyond schools
  • Educational support for children and young people living in out of home care
  • Situational risk prevention strategies and critical incident management plans
  • Building supportive and strength-based environments for vulnerable children and young people.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Pre-service teachers will be involved in a variety of teaching-learning strategies to progress and demonstrate their understandings in this unit. Participants will be involved in a variety of teaching-learning strategies to support learning, including any combination of lectures, workshops, tutorials, agency, school visits, case study development, classroom simulations and other online activities.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is the equivalent of 150 hours of study.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements and the development of Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. Such procedures may include, but are not limited to, essays, reports, examinations, online activities, visits to agencies and services, student presentations and case studies.

Minimum Achievement Standards

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome.  This unit requires two assessment tasks. The total of assessment tasks will amount to the equivalent of 4000 words.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Group Presentation: in class or online, depending on the mode of delivery of the unit.

Explore and report on a topic related to a particular category of vulnerable children and young people, including the nature of the issues faced by these children and their families/carers, the relevant risk and protective factors, available support and implications for teachers working with vulnerable children and young people and their families/carers in child safe ways.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5

Assessment Task 2 Task for National Moderation Reflective Report

 Child safe teaching strategies for vulnerable children and young people.


LO2, LO3, LO5

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5

Representative texts and references

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). (2010). Child protection Australia 2008-09. Child Welfare Series no. 47. Canberra, ACT: AIHW.

Bamblett, M., & Lewis, P. (2007). Detoxifying the child and family welfare system for Australian Indigenous Peoples: Self-determination, rights and culture as the critical tools. First peoples child and family review, 3 (3), 43-56.

Breckenridge, J., Cunningham, J. & Karen Jennings, K. (2008). The debilitating effects of silence and denial. Relationships Australia and SA Government Department for Families and Communities.

Bromfield, L., Lamont, A., Parker, R., & Horsfall, B. (2010). Issues for the safety and wellbeing of children in families with multiple and complex problems: The co-occurrence of domestic violence, parental substance misuse, and mental health problems. National Child Protection Clearinghouse Issues Paper No.33. Retrieved from:

Child Safety Commissioner, Victoria. (2007). Calmer classrooms: A guide to working with traumatised children. Retrieved from

Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P, Taylor, R. D., & Dymnicki, A. B. (2011). The effects of school-based social and emotional learning: A meta-analytic review. Child Development, 82(1):405-32.

Education Services Australia. (2011). National Safe Schools Framework (revised 2011). Retrieved from

Finkelhor, D. (2007). Prevention of sexual Abuse through educational programs directed toward children, Pediatrics, 120:3 640-645; doi:10.1542/peds.2007-0754

Hopkins, D. (2008). Teachers, students & the law: A quick reference guide for Australian teachers. (3rd ed.). Melbourne, Vic: Victoria Law Foundation.

Topping, K. J. & Barron, I. G. (2009). School-based child sexual abuse prevention programs: A review of effectiveness. Review of Educational Research, 79 (1), 431-463.

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