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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/our-work/assessment-and-planning/planning/responding-to-non-accidental-injuries-multi-agency-safety-planning/
Printed: 19/05/2024
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Last updated: 14/04/2023

Responding to non-accidental injuries – multi-agency safety planning

We work collaboratively with professionals and whānau or family to secure the safety of tamariki with a suspected non-accidental injury.

Upcoming changes for this guidance

This content will be strengthened so it more completely reflects our commitment to practice framed by te Tiriti o Waitangi, based on a mana-enhancing paradigm for practice, and drawing from ​Te Ao Māori principles of oranga to support mana tamaiti, whakapapa and whanaungatanga. We each need to consider how we can apply these principles to our practice when reading this guidance. The following resources provide support:
Practice for working effectively with Māori
Our practice approach

What is a non-accidental injury

A non-accidental injury (NAI) results when a person does something that physically harms or injures te tamaiti.

Physical abuse


When we become aware of a non-accidental injury

We are likely to become aware of an actual or suspected non-accidental injury through a report of concern. Anyone can make a report of concern, including a hospital or another medical professional, another professional like a teacher or lawyer, a whānau or family member or friend, or a member of the public.

All reports of concern follow the normal intake pathway.

Intake decision response tool

Intake and early assessment

If the concerns are very serious, we should notify emergency services or encourage the notifier to do so.

Start the collaborative and multi-disciplinary process for decision-making and planning

When we receive a report of concern about te tamaiti experiencing a suspected non-accidental injury, we need to:

  • ensure their immediate needs are met
  • work collaboratively to keep them safe from further harm.

We work with the notifier to understand the concerns and gather information to inform safety planning.

We work together with te tamaiti, their parents and whānau or family, and professionals to discuss the concerns and develop a safety plan.

Practice standard: Work closely in partnership with others

Protect and support the development of tamariki and rangatahi within healthy whānau and families

All cases that require an investigation response are worked in consultation with Police following the Child Protection Protocol.

Child Protection Protocol (CPP)

Working collaboratively achieves better outcomes by:

  • ensuring robust and safe decision-making
  • reducing stress and worry for te tamaiti and their whānau or family.

If professionals disagree, we make sure that everyone is heard and their concerns are considered. If agreement can’t be reached, it is Oranga Tamariki that has the statutory responsibility for taking steps to ensure the care and protection of tamariki.

Engage with te tamaiti and their whānau or family as early as possible

Parents, whānau or family and te tamaiti should be involved in the safety planning either in person or by phone or videoconference.

We need to:

  • know and consider the wishes of te tamaiti and their whānau or family
  • talk with the whānau or family about harm and danger, so they’re aware of the issues that will be raised in developing the safety plan.

Hui ā-whānau

Develop a safety plan

The safety plan should be straightforward, SMART and written in plain language.

Undertake safety planning (step 5) – Core assessment phase

SMART planning

Practice standard: Ensure safety and wellbeing

It needs to outline:

  • what the safety issues are for te tamaiti, how they will be addressed, and what safety arrangements are already in place
  • who will care for te tamaiti, and where they will live
  • who in the whānau or family will have contact with te tamaiti, when this contact will occur and if required, who will supervise it
  • how any risks to siblings and other tamariki in the home will be addressed
  • how the emotional needs of te tamaiti will be addressed
  • how the health and rehabilitation needs of te tamaiti will be addressed
  • what support the whānau or family needs, who will provide this and when
  • what financial support is available to those caring for te tamaiti, and who is responsible for providing or accessing this
  • the roles and responsibilities of professionals
  • how the plan will be monitored, who will be responsible for monitoring and how people will be kept informed.

Ensure everyone involved has a copy of the safety plan.

Multi-agency safety planning template (DOC 145 KB)