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 91 There is another group of recommendations (and related NTG decisions) for which there has been uncertain or patchy progress. For the most part, these are recommendations that involve multiple NTG agencies and/or where it is uncertain who should take responsibility for the implementation: The assessment of policies, procedures, guidelines and funding agreements to ensure they promote child safety (Rec. 6) The development of enhanced information-sharing between agencies (Rec.17) The designation of senior officers in each NTG agency with responsibility for the coordination of child protection issues (Rec. 7) In connection with these recommendations and NTG decisions, it is recommended that a clear coordination or facilitation role be established for multi-agency child protection initiatives. In addition, processes and guidelines need to be developed and standardised for the informationsharing processes and the roles of agency officers responsible for child protection matters. One possibility is that NTFC could provide the necessary leadership, perhaps through the newly-formed Interdepartmental Child Protection Policy and Working Group. The fourth group of recommendations are those for which there has been marginal or no significant progress to date. The most problematic of these pertain to the education of the broader community and remote Aboriginal peoples in particular, around various aspects of sexual assault. One of the consistent themes in the Report was the call for more education of Aboriginal people, particularly those in rural and remote areas, as a key plank of the intervention program. For example, the Board concluded that: All information gathered leads us to conclude that education is the key to solving (or at least, ameliorating) the incidence of child sexual assault in Aboriginal communities. By education, we not only mean that which occurs in schools, but that which occurs in its wider context (p. 15) This being the case, it is of concern that some of the key recommendations pertaining to the broader education of Aboriginal communities about sexual abuse have not been implemented to date. For example: recommendation 57 called for the raising of community awareness around child sexual abuse through a variety of measures (partly implemented) recommendation 94 called for a focus on educating Aboriginal people around the legal position and community standards in relation to child sexual abuse, and recommendation 95 called for a vigorous campaign to educate the general public around the trauma of sexual assault. In each case the NTG committed to a wide-spread and sustained community education campaign. Although there have been some scattered educational initiatives these fall well short of a widespread and sustained campaign with the goal of shifting attitudes towards child sexual abuse (CTG, Appendix 1, 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. It is likely however, that more than the $0.44 million over five years allocated in Closing the Gap will be needed to achieve the stated goals for this education campaign.

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