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Health and Community Services Complaints Commission Report on Investigation of Royal Darwin Hospital Security Arrangements for the protection of Children and Infants Paediatric Ward 5B Volume 1



Health and Community Services Complaints Commission Report on Investigation of Royal Darwin Hospital Security Arrangements for the protection of Children and Infants Paediatric Ward 5B Volume 1

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16. Complaint Incident & Background to HCSCC Investigation In March 2006 a 5 month old Aboriginal girl born with a ventricular septal defect of the heart was an inpatient of the Royal Darwin Hospital (RDH). Her illness left her with little or no ability to cry out and thereby alert staff should she require assistance. This infant girl was placed in Paediatric Ward 5B Room 8 with an eight year old Aboriginal boy. Room 8 is adjacent to the wards nursing station. There was, in 2006 and still was not on 21 November 2007, any ability to see into this room or to see the beds in that room from the nursing station. On the 30th March 2006 between 8:00pm and 10:00pm whilst accommodated in Ward 5B, Room 8, Royal Darwin Hospital, this child was raped and suffered tearing (posterior fourchette5) and damage (Labia Majora swollen with circumferential abrasions and Labia Minora swollen) to her genital area. (A loss of 10-30ml blood with visible fresh and continued bleeding observed by the nurse). This was brought to the attention of a nurse by the babys mother at approximately 10.40pm. A doctor attended at approximately 11.30pm from the Accident and Emergency Unit. The doctor did not know how to contact the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) and telephoned a Paediatric Registrar who then informed NT Police and SARC at 0045am on 31 March 2006. Subsequent media coverage of this incident highlighted concerns that security at RDH was lacking6. It was reported that a lack of security hampered Police investigations. A Police spokesman at the time stated that The difficulty when there isnt enough security and people are wandering in and out visiting children, is that sexual predators may be among them. The assertion that there isnt enough security is supported by Mr Kenneth Lingard (Lingard Review7) who was assigned the task of reviewing RDH security in 2002 and 2007. DHCS (DHF) spokesman Mr Tim Pigot reportedly said during a media interview in 2006 that We (DHCS) arent looking at introducing closed-circuit TV cameras at this stage. Subsequently a complaint was made to the Health & Community Services Complaints Commission (HCSCC) by the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) on behalf of the mother of the child. One of the issues of complaint related to and questioned adequacy of security within Royal Darwin Hospital Paediatric Ward 5B. The issue of addressing this complaint relating to hospital security was assigned to the Director of Investigations (DI). The DIs experience in security is set out as an Attachment8. 5 Fourchette Membrane at posterior junction of labia minora. 6 Volume 2 - HCSCC Attachment 1 - The Australian DNA tests after rape of sick baby. 7 An excerpt from the Lingard Review states at recommendation point 1.2.1 Consideration should be given to increasing security-staffing numbers. Adjustment of staffing levels is required to allow a maximum of (withheld from public disclosure) officers per shift, excluding the manager, and a dedicated officer for the Emergency Department during the peak evening/night periods without depleting the overall availability of a security response campus wide or diluting the critical functions of patrolling and watching across the campus. 8 Volume 2 - HCSCC Attachment 2 - Director of Investigations experience.