Territory Stories

Annual Report 2008/2009 Children's Commissioner of the Northern Territory



Annual Report 2008/2009 Children's Commissioner of the Northern Territory

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Tabled paper 627


Tabled papers for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT




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Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.




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Page 12 Executive Summary Contd well short of a widespread and sustained campaign with the goal of shifting attitudes towards child sexual abuse (CTG, Appendix, p. 12). Given the importance of community education as an abuse prevention strategy, it is recommended that priority be given to the development and implementation of the widespread and sustained campaign. As outlined in the CTG response to Recommendation 94, this campaign will need to involve a number of different media including radio, television, print and discussion forums. Conclusions The recommendations from the Little Children are Sacred Report and NTG responses reviewed here, suggest that although a great deal has been achieved there is still more to be done in order to implement all relevant NTG decisions. In particular, the NTG needs to fully implement the widespread and sustained educational campaign that was flagged as being one of the key elements of the strategy to combat the abuse of Aboriginal children. It is of some concern that new policy agendas have emerged that have shifted child protection from its central place in Indigenous policy development. The focus of NTG Indigenous policy has shifted to a re-alignment of NT CTG targets with the federal Closing the Gap targets (under the COAG National Indigenous Reform Agenda) and to developing the Working Future framework based on the transformation of 20 Indigenous communities into growth towns. The objective of both of these frameworks is to improve outcomes for Indigenous Australians in general, but neither has a clear place or specific reporting framework for child protection issues. It is now two years since the CTG commitments were made following the release of the Little Children are Sacred Report and it is essential that the impetus for addressing child abuse in Aboriginal communities is not lost as competing policy priorities emerge. It is clear from the available statistics that the abuse of Aboriginal children remains a serious problem (see, for example data reported in Chapter 4). The authors of the Little Children are Sacred Report observed that although amelioration of the problem may take as long as an Aboriginal generation of 15 years, this will only occur if there is urgent and sustained action to lay the foundations for change (Wild & Anderson, 2007, p. 13). The Report and the CTG initiative that followed it were catalysts for action in the NT. With the passage of time and the emergence of new policy priorities, there is a need to renew the focus on protecting vulnerable Aboriginal children and to develop a new and compelling framework for the commitments to action that have been made. Chapter 4: Report on the Monitoring of the Administration of the Care and Protection of Children Act 2007. As the core child protection provisions of the Care and Protection of Children Act 2007 were commenced on 8 December 2008, formal monitoring of the administration of the Act covers only the seven months from that date. The Act is being progressively implemented and as of 30 June 2009 many of the new provisions had yet to be formally commenced. This being the case, the focus of this report is a largely descriptive one that looks at the processes of implementation, the nature of the new provisions, and other activities of the administering agency (NTFC) that impact on the way the Act is administered.

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