Territory Stories

Annual report 2009-2010, NT Child Deaths Review and Prevention Committee



Annual report 2009-2010, NT Child Deaths Review and Prevention Committee

Other title

NT Child Deaths Review and Prevention Committee annual report 2009-2010


Office of the Children's Commissioner Northern Territory


E-Publications; PublicationNT; E-Books; The Children's Commissioner Northern Territory annual report; Annual reports




Date:2010; Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).




Children, Aboriginal Australian; Northern Territory; Periodicals; Death; Causes; Statistics; Periodicals; Children and death; Periodicals

Publisher name

Northern Territory Government

Place of publication



The Children's Commissioner Northern Territory annual report; Annual reports



File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government



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Citation address


Page content

Page 14 Chapter 1 Overview of the Northern Territory Child Deaths Review and Prevention Committee Background In recent years the Northern Territory Government has undergone substantial reform in the fields of child protection and community services. A key element of child protection reform has been the introduction of the new Care and Protection of Children Act (the Act), the objectives of which are to promote the wellbeing of children including to protect them from harm and exploitation and to maximise the opportunities for children to realise their full potential.5 This reform agenda culminated in the 2006 Board of Inquiry into the Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse, and the subsequent report published on 15 June 2007 titled Little Children are Sacred. The Act was passed by the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly in November 2007 and contains provisions relating to the prevention of child deaths. The objective of these provisions is to assist in the prevention and reduction of all child deaths in the NT, up to the age of 18 years, including stillbirths. When the provisions relating to the Committee were introduced to Parliament, the then Minister for Family and Community Services stated The Territory has a high incidence of injury to children and a high infant mortality rate. This new measure provides a focal point for continuing attention to be paid to reducing these rates and to raising public awareness about the issues. One of the most tragic events a family and community can experience is the death of a child, an event which is even more tragic if it could have been prevented. A recent response to these tragedies, both nationally and internationally, has been the establishment of committees tasked with the review of child deaths within their respective jurisdictions. The scope of these committees varies from state to state and country to country, however each has the common goal of seeking to better understand how and why children die and to initiate action designed to prevent the deaths of other children where this is possible. Each Australian state and territory now has processes in place for reviewing the deaths of children, however, the composition of the various review committees differ as does their scope, process and reporting requirements. The Northern Territory was the last Australian jurisdiction to establish a child deaths review process and the legislative basis for the work of this Committee is outlined below. As discussed in Chapter 4, the Northern Territory lags behind other Australian jurisdictions with respect to the majority of infant and child health indicators and the existing data also suggest that death rates follow a similar pattern. Of particular concern are the health indicators and death rates for Aboriginal children which are considerably greater than those for their non-Aboriginal counterparts. There is however some cause for optimism in that the death rates for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal infants and children have been improving over the past two decades. 5 Care and Protection of Children Act, Part 1.2, section 4.