The Victorian Paediatric Medical Service (VFPMS) is a state-wide service providing assessments for children and young people, under 18 years of age, who might have been abused, neglected or assaulted. VFPMS works collaboratively with health professionals, police and Child Protection.
The doctors at VFPMS assess children in relation to concerning injuries they have sustained in order to determine, wherever possible, the cause and mechanism of injury. The child’s health, development, safety, wellbeing and behaviour are also evaluated. Sometimes medical tests and medical imaging are required.
A medical report is written for every child that is assessed by the VFPMS. This is kept as part of the child’s medical record and provided to the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and police where necessary.
VFPMS services throughout Victoria are provided using a “hub and spoke” model of care with hubs at the Royal Children’s Hospital and Monash Children’s Hospital. A network of doctors and health professionals throughout Victoria provide the service regionally, with support from the VFPMS staff. The service is funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.
Monash Children’s Hospital Unit
The unit at Monash Children’s Hospital is staffed by consultant paediatricians with expertise in forensic medicine, a forensic physician, two clinical nurse specialists and senior paediatric trainees. This experienced and compassionate team is trained in the assessment, care and treatment of children under 18 who have experienced abuse including physical and sexual assault.
The team offers consultation and advice in relation to children at risk in the South East areas of Melbourne and Victoria as well as Casey and Dandenong hospitals. We also provide face to face consultation in relation to children admitted as inpatients to Monash Children’s Hospital.
The VFPMS offers 24 hour access to expert medical opinion regarding possible child abuse and neglect. An on-call doctor is available via telephone for consultation and advice. Face-to-face consultation may also occur during evenings, night and at weekends for inpatients at MCH. However, the majority of our consultations are conducted during business hours.
Doctors’ on-call will respond promptly to phone inquiries.
Early consultation is encouraged as this may minimise complications and reduce anxiety.
Advice and training
The Victorian Forensic Paediatric Medical Service provides face-to-face consultations, secondary consultations, and forensic opinions for Child Protection and the Justice systems. Education and training is also provided for doctors, medical and nursing staff, Child Protection workers, Police and medical students from Monash University and the University of Melbourne. We are happy to provide advice to health professionals whenever required.