Preventing Injury to Aboriginal Children and Young People in NSW

Preventing unintentional injury to Aboriginal children and young people in NSW: guidelines for policy and practice

NSW Ministry of Health
Duration: June 2015 – March 2017


In March 2015, NSW Kids and Families put out an expression of interest for researchers to conduct research which either informs paediatric injury prevention or informs health service provision for paediatric injury. CHSD researchers received funding from NSW Kids and Families to carry out a project that addresses the issue of high rates of hospitalisation and deaths amongst Aboriginal children. The research involved the development of guidelines about how best to prevent unintentional injury to Aboriginal children and young people in NSW. The project sought to inform policy by highlighting areas of prevention where most benefit can occur, inform and guide injury prevention practice within community settings, and inform future research directions and intervention studies.

What we didBroken arm

The research project began in July 2015 and was underpinned by broad consultation with community, policy makers, program providers and researchers, and drew together existing knowledge from literature about the extent and characteristics of injury to Aboriginal children and young people. A literature review was conducted with two main components looking at effective programs that target injury in indigenous children internationally, as well as a review of what is known about Aboriginal community attitudes towards injury prevention and perceptions of risk.

Qualitative research involved semi-structured interviews with stakeholders, and focus group discussions with Aboriginal community members to explore attitudes to the prevention of injury in Aboriginal children and young people. A roundtable discussion was held in June 2016 which brought together a diverse group of participants, including Aboriginal community organisations, government and non-government organisations, injury practitioners and policy makers. The roundtable discussion included researcher presentations and brainstorming sessions to inform a set of draft guidelines for effective injury prevention approaches targeting injury among Aboriginal children and young people in NSW.

Guidelines were developed to provide a resource to assist organisations, communities and individuals to work together to prevent unintentional injury to Aboriginal children in NSW in a way that reflects the values, attitudes and priorities of Aboriginal people. The guidelines are intended to assist Aboriginal community controlled organisations that deliver services to Aboriginal children, non-government organisations that develop and implement child safety programs, researchers responsible for developing and evaluating interventions, and government policy makers responsible for setting policy agendas. The final guidelines, entitled ‘Active and Safe: Preventing unintentional injury to Aboriginal children and young people in NSW: Guidelines for Policy and Practice’, were submitted to the Ministry of Health in March 2017. The interim and final study results were presented at two conferences: the World Safety Conference in Helsinki, Finland, in September 2016, and the Australian Injury Prevention Conference in Ballarat, Victoria, in November 2017.

While the injury mortality rate for non-Aboriginal children in NSW has halved over the past 15 years, the rate for Aboriginal children has remained the same.


AHSRI project team: Kathleen Clapham and Keziah Bennett-Brook
Collaborators: Rebecca Ivers and Kate Hunter (The George Institute for Global Health)


Photo by James Lee (Flickr: Broken Arm) [CC BY 2.0 (]  

Last reviewed: 3 August, 2018

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