Important cases — Unexplained injury

[3-1480] DCJ and Harry [2023] NSWChC 5

Last reviewed: June 2024

Interim contact order to facilitate overnight supervised contact between parents and child — 1-year-old infant sustained bilateral multi-layer retinal haemorrhages and a subdural haematoma consistent with injuries sustained by infants who have been shaken — removed and placed with paternal grandmother and paternal aunt — realistic possibility of restoration to parents — criteria outlined in DCJ and Evie and Grace [2023] NSWChC 1 followed — benefit in increasing contact with parents to transition them to become primary attachment figures — benefit outweighs any potential harm.

DCJ and Evie and Grace [2023] NSWChC 1

Twin infants had healing fractures at multiple sites — most probable cause was the application of excessive force by a parent — parents unable to explain injuries and children were assumed into care and placed with their maternal great aunt — non-exhaustive list of factors in assessing safety at [53] — parents are intelligent, educated and engaged with services as recommended by the Department — parents have made the children available for medical assessments and reviews and have personally undertaken medical tests in search of a medical explanation for the injuries — parents have both attended psychologists to address concerns about their capacity to support their children — exposure of the harm will cause both parents to reflect on the way they have handled the children and to closely observe the other when handling the children — children’s maternal uncle and grandparents will remain connected to the children and are alert to any signs of physical distress — children attend childcare three days each week and are supported by a nanny — risk of harm has been sufficiently mitigated such that the children are likely to be safe in the care of their parents — realistic possibility of restoration of children to their parents.