NT Child Deaths Review and Prevention Committee annual report 2009-2010
The Children's Commissioner Northern Territory reports; Reports; PublicationNT
Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).
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 22 Non-Medical and Contextual Factors Related to Death The current report of the CDRPC provides the status of the proposed Child Deaths Register, and the provision of an overview of basic child deaths data including cause of death data for the calendar years 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. The tables provided are based on the data provided by the NT BDM Registry, Territory Coroner and health facilities with some context being provided by national level data compiled by the ABS. It is anticipated that information relating to these contextual factors such as socio-economic status, involvement with child protection services, parental alcohol/drug use and level of parental supervision (in cases of accident) as a contributing factor to the death of a child will be examined once the Child Deaths Register has been effectively established. To incorporate these factors into the Child Deaths Register, additional sources of information will be needed from other agencies such as Northern Territory Families and Children and the NT Police. This analysis can commence immediately where deaths from natural causes are registered with the NT BDM Registry (and a comprehensive database is available to record the information) but for cases referred to the Coroner analysis must wait until the Coroners findings are released. For the calendar year 2009, 25 deaths were referred to the Coroner. Of these, 17 were finalised with no inquest being held (inquest dispensed with) while 7 are still pending. Interstate Deaths of NT Children The Care and Protection of Children Act defines a child death (for the purposes of the CDRPC) as the death of a child who is usually resident in the Territory (whether the death occurred in the Territory or not) (Section 208 [a]). This definition poses a particular challenge for the CDRPC because of the relatively large number of infants and children who are evacuated from the Northern Territory for interstate specialist medical treatment. Given that this only occurs where there are serious risks to a childs health, it is likely that some children and infants die whilst receiving treatment interstate. Although the original treating doctors may receive information from interstate hospitals, there does not appear to be any formal arrangements in place to notify the NT BDM Registry of child deaths that occur interstate. It should also be noted that some Aboriginal families who are normally resident in the NT travel frequently across state and territory borders for cultural and family reasons and may remain interstate for extended periods. If children from these families die whilst interstate, there are again no formal arrangements for the information to be forwarded to the NT BDM Registry. The CDRPC is in the process of examining ways of obtaining accurate information on NT resident children who die interstate. The issue of information sharing about children who die outside their usual state/territory, is on the agenda of the Australian and New Zealand Child Death Review and Prevention Group (ANZCDRPG), which is a national, cross-jurisdictional forum made up of representatives of child death review teams in all Australian jurisdictions and New Zealand. The CDRPC has made attempts to obtain information about child deaths of NT residents from interstate BDM registries. Approximately 3% of the total child deaths in the current report were sourced from these interstate registries. However it remains difficult to obtain detailed information regarding these interstate child deaths because of privacy issues, which in turn makes coding interstate deaths to the ICD-10 classification problematic. Even where the CDRPC obtains this additional information, it does not provide a comprehensive data capture of all the interstate child deaths of NT residents. Therefore, it should be noted that there is likely to be some slight under-reporting in the tables presented in Chapter 5.
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