• The University of Western Australia (M560), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


  • 512 Citations
  • 13 h-Index
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Personal profile


Dr Melissa O'Donnell is a nationally and internationally recognised researcher in the area of child abuse and neglect. Her work utilises linked government data from the Western Australian Departments of Health, Mental Health, Justice, Police, and Communities and she also utilises the national AIHW data. Her research is focused on investigating and monitoring outcomes and risk and proctective factors for children and families who expereince child abuse and neglect and external cases of injury. Dr O'Donnell has successefully collaborated with government agencies to inform policy and practice to improve outcomes for children through prevention and early intervention. Her work has contributed to national and state policy and practice including the National Child Protection Framework and the development of the first Youth Health Policy for Western Australia. Dr O'Donnell has provided her expertise to the United Nations and sits on the International Working Group on Child Maltreatment Data Collections through the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Education/Academic qualification

Psychology, Masters of Psychology, The University of Western Australia

Psychology, Bachelor of Psychology (Honours)

Education, Diploma of Education

Pediatrics and Child Health, PhD


  • Social and Welfare Issues
  • Health
  • child abuse and neglect
  • out-of-home care
  • data linkage
  • administrative data

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Western Australia Medicine & Life Sciences
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Educational Status Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2008 2019

Overcrowded housing: One of a constellation of vulnerabilities for child sexual abuse

Cant, R. L., O'Donnell, M., Sims, S. & Harries, M., 1 Jul 2019, In : Child Abuse and Neglect. 93, p. 239-248 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Sexual Child Abuse
Sex Offenses
Western Australia
International Classification of Diseases
Intimate Partner Violence
1 Citation (Scopus)
Educational Status
Home Care Services
Propensity Score
10 Citations (Scopus)
79 Downloads (Pure)

Maltreatment risk among children with disabilities

Maclean, M. J., Sims, S., Bower, C., Leonard, H., Stanley, F. J. & O'Donnell, M., 1 Apr 2017, In : Pediatrics. 139, 4, e20161817.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Disabled Children
Conduct Disorder
Western Australia
Child Abuse
2 Citations (Scopus)

Maternal alcohol use disorder and subsequent child protection contact: A record-linkage population cohort study

Hafekost, K., Lawrence, D., O'Leary, C., Bower, C., O'Donnell, M., Semmens, J. & Zubrick, S. R., 1 Oct 2017, In : Child Abuse and Neglect. 72, p. 206-214 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Cohort Studies

Projects 2011 2022