Child Protection Unit (acute)


These guidelines have been produced to guide clinical decision making for general practitioners (GPs). They are not strict protocols. Clinical common-sense should be applied at all times. These clinical guidelines should never be relied on as a substitute for proper assessment with respect to the particular circumstances of each case and the needs of each patient. Clinicians should also consider the local skill level available and their local area policies before following any guideline.


Child Protection Unit (CPU) is based at Perth Children’s Hospital, and provides a state-wide advice and consultation service when there are concerns that a child has experienced, or is at risk, of child abuse. 

We are a multidisciplinary team made up of specialist child protection paediatricians, senior social workers and psychologists, and offer acute services, as well as therapy services for children who have been affected by abuse.

We see children and young people (15 years old or under) when there are concerns of abuse requiring medical assessment.

The form of abuse may be one or more of the following:

  • Sexual
  • Physical
  • Neglect
  • Emotional 
  • Psychological 
  • Medical Child Abuse (formerly Fabricated and Induced Illness).

We also see in-patients at PCH where significant risk is identified due to:

  • parental mental illness
  • parental substance misuse
  • family and domestic violence.

Pre-referral investigations

None required.

When to refer

Anyone in WA can refer a matter to the Child Protection Unit. 

Contact CPU if:

  • You would like advice regarding how to proceed with a child protection matter
  • You think a child who has been harmed requires a medical assessment

You should contact Department of Communities, Child Protection and Family Support if:

  • you have an urgent child protection concern
  • you suspect a child (under 18) has been harmed. This can include concerns regarding neglect, emotional harm, physical harm or sexual harm
  • you suspect a child (under 18) is at risk of harm (for example because of carer drug use or mental health difficulties)

In business hours, Department of Communities, Child Protection and Family Support  Central Intake Team can be contacted on 1800 273 889 or email 

To report a concern out of business hours please contact Department of Communities, Child Protection and Family Support Crisis Care Unit on 9223 1111 or Country free call 1800 199 008.

If you think a child requires urgent medical care, please call 000 or advise attendance at the nearest Emergency Department.

How to refer and advice

Between Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm

Phone: 6456 4300

Urgent advice outside hours

Phone: 6456 2222 (PCH Switch - ask for CPU)

Essential information to include in your referral

None required.

Useful resources

Reviewer/Team: Child Protection Unit Last reviewed: Feb 2021

Review date: Feb 2024
Endorsed by:

CPAC Date:  Feb 2021

This document can be made available in alternative formats on request for a person with a disability.