NT Child Deaths Review and Prevention Committee annual report 2009-2010
The Children's Commissioner Northern Territory reports; Reports; PublicationNT
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Children, Aboriginal Australian -- Northern Territory -- Periodicals; Death -- Causes -- Statistics -- Periodicals; Children and death -- Periodicals
Office of the Children’s Commissioner Northern Territory
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Page 18 Chapter 2 Data Collection and the Development of a Child Deaths Register Under the Act, the Committee has a statutory requirement to develop and maintain a Register of all deaths of children and young people under the age of 18 years whose usual place of residence is the NT. The Register will be a database based on data from the NT BDM Registry. This data includes demographic information relating to date of birth, date of death, date of registration of death, sex, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status, place of birth, place of death, usual place of residence, parents names and occupations, and causes of death. This reporting year the Committee has focused through the ongoing work of its subcommittee to develop a database which meets the unique requirements of the Northern Territory. A major challenge for the Committee is the development of a database that contains information that is comparable to that maintained by other Australian jurisdictions, is flexible enough to incorporate future changes that may be required after national data coding initiatives, and that captures all the pertinent information required in the NT context. In 2008, the NSW Child Death Review Team (NSW CDRT) provided the Committee with a de-populated copy of their Child Death Register to use as a reference for the development of the NT Child Deaths Register. The NSW CDRT has used its register since 1996 and it records data relating to the registered deaths of all children and young people aged 0-17 years. The data includes date of birth, date of death, date of death registration, age, sex, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status, causes of death as noted on the death certificate, place and country of birth, usual residence, and parents names and occupations. It also provides for the collection of other information that might help with understanding the underlying causes of the deaths. This additional information includes data fields for factors such as socio-economic classification of family location, whether the family was known to child protection services, drug and/or alcohol use by the parents, and relevant medical history of the mother. The database also provides scope for a detailed analysis of specific categories of death, such as accidental injury, by capturing data on type and level of supervision provided prior to the death. The Committee would like to express its gratitude for the NSW CDRT for providing its Child Death Register. Whilst many of the attributes of the NSW Register were relevant to the NT, there were a number of areas where the specific needs of the NT were not adequately covered. These differences focused mainly on the high NT Aboriginal population and the cultural nuances associated with this population group such as language, family hierarchy, groupings and names that would not be compatible with the data fields present in the NSW register. Another NT issue relates to addresses many Aboriginal communities. In both urban and remote communities addresses are noted as a house number within a stated community rather than a standard address based on house and street number, suburb and town. Some Aboriginal people move frequently between relatives and around their traditional homelands and may be of no fixed address, whilst there are other people, particularly around urban areas, who do not have any fixed abode. These issues present challenges for data collection systems. The Committee, along with the sub-committee, determined that a new database would need to be developed for future use. In the meantime, the Committees secretariat has built and
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