Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine


Dr Jennifer 'Anne' Smith

Quota applies

This unit is quota restricted. Selection is on a first-in, first enrolled basis. For further information please contact the Postgraduate Course Administrator via email postgrad.courses@vifm.org or phone 03 9684 4115.



  • Second semester 2016 (Online)


Advanced issues in non-accidental injury of children aims to provide an opportunity for students to study the epidemiology and frameworks for evaluation of children when serious and/or complex non-accidental injury is suspected.

This unit will enable students to study the theories around injury causation with a focus on complex head injury and other life threatening injuries in children. Clinical findings, patho-physiology and investigation results will be studied.

Students will explore controversies surrounding the evaluation of complex injury including shaking injury.

Major Content:

  • Abusive head trauma in infants (impact, acceleration-deceleration and shaking injury, asphyxia, hypoxic-ischaemic brain injury, intracranial bleeding, skull fracture)
  • Eye injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Poisoning / Toxicology
  • Fatal child abuse (homicide and fatal neglect)
  • Fabricated or Induced Illness by Carers (FIIC)


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

  1. Detect and characterise inflicted neural and ocular trauma in childhood;
  2. Identify the key procedures and medico-legal issues of child death investigations;
  3. Discuss factitious illnesses in childhood with particular reference to the medico-legal issues;
  4. Apply analytical skills in the understanding of toxicology as it applies to a paediatric population, and appraise the toxic effects on children and adolescents of several commonly abused drugs (both legal and illicit);
  5. Critique theories of causation, and interrogate current controversies and areas of uncertainty in the field of non-accidental injury of childhood;
  6. Identify and interpret mechanisms of injury associated with abusive head trauma, spinal injury, and ocular injury, and the evidence base upon which the determination as to cause and timing of injury are made;
  7. Articulate the difficulties inherent in medical evaluations of complex situations involving suspicions of child abuse, emphasising on the strengths and limitations of medical investigations, and the methods used to present complex medical information to others.


Case Study 1 (2000 words) (25%)
Case Study 2 (2000 words) (25%)
Case presentation (15 minutes) (20%)
Essay (3,000 words) (30%)

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Richard Bassed, Dr Jennifer 'Anne' Smith

Off-campus attendance requirements

Compulsory 2 day workshop.

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: