The Children's Commissioner has told MPs some child abuse referrals to Child, Youth and Family are being made without proper assessments and are overwhelming the organisation.
Russell Wills told Parliament's social services committee the bulk of the 150,000 referrals made last year from health and police were for children who were witness to domestic violence.
He said a number of those referrals should have been made to Women's Refuge.
"That leads to social workers being overwhelmed. The intervention needs to be a domestic violence intervention for most of those children and in fact notifying Child, Youth and Family puts a barrier in the way. It actually delays that, usually it's women, that woman getting assistance that she needs."
Dr Wills told MPs that notifying Child, Youth and Family can often delay those children and their families from getting the help they need.
He said some of the assessments of child abuse risk were weak, and work should be done to strengthen them.