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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



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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government



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Page content

Page 47 Chapter 6 Research Co-sponsorship of Research One of the functions of the Committee is to sponsor research into child deaths. The Department of Health and Families (DHF) and more specifically their Health Gains Planning (HGP) branch, has approached the Committee to co-sponsor research in relation to Aboriginal infant death rates. The research question is based on whether the reduction in Aboriginal fetal death rates has moderated the smaller improvement in Aboriginal infant deaths rates. The Committee has agreed to support this research with the provision of the Committees perinatal data to HGP to better examine the trends of fetal, neonatal and postneonatal deaths within the target cohort. These specified infant death rates are key measures that indicate quality of life outcomes and it is crucial that these rates are comprehensively validated and contain the most relevant data. These are crucial for a variety of reasons such as the measurement of the success of some of governments key policy decisions. For the Committee to provide the information it holds for the purposes of this research, it had to gain authorisation from the Minister for Child Protection. The Committee put this proposal to the Minister who authorised the disclosure of information for the purpose of this research on 31 May 2010. The Committee will uphold the principles of the Information Act and its own privacy policies when providing this information to HGP, including encryption of data to eliminate the chance of a privacy breach. The Committee has asked that HGP provide updates regarding the progress of the research and provide the trend data for the Committees consideration. Preliminary Comparative Analysis for Hangings in the NT As the data held by the Committee has increased from sources such as the NT BDM Registry and the Territory Coroner, certain trends have begun to be identified. Of note and of particular concern to members of the Committee was the high rate and frequency of child deaths by suicide and particularly by hanging. For the period 2006 to 2009 all child deaths involving hanging as a method of suicide were Aboriginal children. The Aboriginality of the children was not a factor considered for the purposes of this comparative analysis as data in other jurisdictions was not available for this distinction. However, the Committee recognises that this is an issue that also requires some future examination. There has been some national exposure over previous years regarding the high rate of suicide in the Northern Territory and especially in the Tiwi Islands (Measey et al 2006). There can be many inferences drawn as to why these rates are so high, including the remoteness of many areas in the Territory. Studies undertaken by the AIHW indicate that death rates both generally and for specific categories such as suicide are higher in remote areas of Australia (AIHW, 2003). With the Northern Territory containing some of the most remote areas and populations of Australia there is a strong suggestion that remoteness is one of the contributory factors. This higher rate of mortality including suicide in remote localities is often attributed to limited access to health and community services. Socioeconomic deprivation is also prevalent in these areas. Other research suggests that the higher use of alcohol and marijuana in the Northern Territory comparative to the Australian average has also been a contributing factor to the high suicide rates in the Northern Territory (Measey et al 2006).