Dr Melissa O'Donnell

Dr Melissa O'Donnell

BPsych (Hons), MPsych, GradDip Ed, PhD
NHMRC Early Career Fellow, Developmental Pathways Project

Areas of research expertise: Child maltreatment and linked cross-jurisdictional data.

Dr Melissa O'Donnell is an NHMRC Early Career Fellow and a Psychologist, who completed her PhD in 2009 through the University of Western Australia. Her research uses longitudinal population data from the Western Australian Government Departments of Child Protection, Health, Corrective Services and Education which has been linked and de-identified through the Data Linkage Unit at the Department of Health.


This administrative data is being used to: investigate emergency department presentations and hospital admissions related to child abuse and neglect; determine the mental health and juvenile justice outcomes of children who have contact with the child protection system; and investigate the child, family and community characteristics which increase or reduce vulnerability to child abuse and neglect.


Melissa is a member of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect and the International Child Maltreatment Data Working Group.


Read feature article on Melissa O'Donnell




Gilbert R, Fluke J, O'Donnell M, Gonzalez-Izquierdo A, Brownell M, Gulliver P, Janson S, Sidebotham P. (2011). Child maltreatment: variation in trends and policies in six developed countries. Lancet, Published Online December 9, 2011 DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61087-8.

Gonzalez-Izquierdo A, Ward A, O'Donnell M, Li L, Roposch A, Stanley F, Gilbert R. (2011). Victimisation-related injury in children and adolescents: comparison of hospital admission rates in England and Western Australia. Archives of Disease in Childhood, Under review.

Foley K-R, Blackmore A, Girdler S, O'Donnell M, Glauert R, Llewllyn G, Leonard, H. (2011). To Feel Belonged: the voices of children and youth with disabilities on the meaning of well-being. Disability and Rehabilitation, Child Indicators Research, In press.

O'Donnell M, Nassar N., Jacoby P, Stanley F. (2011). Western Australian Emergency Department presentations related to child maltreatment and intentional injury: Population level study utilising linked Health and Child Protection data. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, doi:10.1111/j.1440-1754.2011.02189.x.

Stanley F, Glauert R, McKenzie A, O'Donnell M. (2011) Can Joined-up Data Lead to Joined-up Thinking? The Western Australian Developmental Pathways Project. Healthcare Policy, 6, 68-79.

O'Donnell, M., Nassar N., Leonard, H., Mathews, R., Patterson, Y., Stanley, F. (2010). The use of cross-jurisdictional data to investigate health indicators of child abuse and neglect. Medical Journal of Australia, 193(3), 142-145.

O'Donnell, M., Nassar, N., Jacoby, P., Leonard, H., Mathews, R., Patterson, Y., Stanley, F. (2010). Characteristics of non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal children and families with substantiated child maltreatment: A population based study. International Journal of Epidemiology, 39(3), 921-928.

O'Donnell, M., Nassar, N., Leonard, H., Jacoby, P., Mathews, R., Patterson, Y., Stanley, F. (2009). Rates and types of hospitalisations for children who have subsequent contact with the Child Protection System: A Population Based Case-Control Study. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 64, 784-788

O'Donnell, M., Nassar, N., Leonard, H., Mathews, R., Patterson, Y., Stanley, F. (2009). Monitoring Child Abuse and Neglect at a Population Level: Patterns of Hospital Admissions for Maltreatment and Assault. International Journal of Child Abuse and Neglect, 34, 823-832.

O'Donnell, M., Nassar, N., Leonard, H., Hagan, R., Mathews, R., Patterson, Y., Stanley, F. (2009) Increasing Prevalence of Neonatal Withdrawal Syndrome: Population study of Maternal Factors and Child Protection Involvement. Pediatrics, 123, e614-e621.

O'Donnell, M., Scott, D., Stanley, F. (2008). "Child Abuse and Neglect - Is it Time for A Public Health Approach?" Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 32(4), 325-330.

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