10.8 Responding to self-harming behaviour


This procedure outlines the process for promoting the safety and well-being of children through implementing responsive self-harm management practices.

This procedure aims to ensure that children who demonstrate, or have demonstrated, any self-harming behaviours, are responded to in ways that aim to:

  • safeguard their immediate safety to the extent possible in the circumstances
  • prevent harm from occurring or reduce the risk of harm
  • promote their ongoing well-being by assisting them to address the harmful behaviours and underlying causes.

Key steps

  1. Identify that a child is at risk of self-harm
  2. Respond to the child with a self-harm alert
  3. Review the self-harm risk management plan

What ifs - responding to specific self-harm matters


  1. Risk factors, warning signs and cultural considerations are taken into account when assessing and responding to self-harm or suicide risk.
  2. When it is assessed that a child meets the criteria for identifying self-harm risk, a self-harm alert must be completed within 24 hours of the incident, disclosure or assessment.
  3. For ongoing intervention cases involving an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, the recognised entity will be informed about and, where applicable, given the opportunity to participate in the review of the self-harm risk management plan.
  4. For ongoing intervention cases, a self-harm risk management plan will be reviewed every three months.

Practice skills (Key areas for reflection)

  • Have I considered all risk factors across the child's individual, family and community contexts when considering whether the child is at risk of self-harm?
  • Have I given appropriate consideration to any history of departmental contact with the child and family?
  • Have I considered and integrated all of the information gathered when making decisions?
  • Is my assessment holistic and focused on the child's safety and well-being?
  • Have I considered how the child or families strengths can be utilised to promote the protection of the child?
  • Have I considered what supports can be provided to this child and family?
  • Have I informed the child, parents/carers and other relevant people about the self-harm alert and the self-harm risk management plan?