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SNAICC's response to the federal government's 'Emergency response to protect Aboriginal children in NT'

27 June 2007

SNAICC continues to respond to the federal government's emergency measures to respond to child abuse in Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.

Our response includes a number of media statements issued since 20 June 2007, comments and interviews with the media, discussions with other Indigenous organisations and the community sector, and discussions with federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough's office.

Details of the federal government's Emergency Response measures, announced on Thursday 21 June 2007, are on the FaCSIA website here.

SNAICC's Latest Response

31 July 2007 New!

SNAICC's July Newsletter

The July edition of our newsletter, SNAICC News, is now available. It includes extensive coverage of our response to the federal government's intevention in NT.

You can download a PDF of July's SNAICC News here

11 July 2007

Overview of SNAICC’s response

SNAICC’s immediate concerns are that the Northern Territory (NT) emergency measures developed by the Federal Government lack expert guidance in the area of child protection, are too short term in focus, and fail to provide a way for stakeholders to contribute their expertise so the measures can have a lasting effect on the safety and welfare of children.

Since 1995 SNAICC has advocated for a national action plan to prevent child abuse and neglect. As recently as May 2006 SNAICC wrote to every Premier and Chief Minister from each state and territory government and to the Prime Minister calling for a national action plan to prevent child abuse. All responded that they had the current issues of abuse and neglect ‘ in-hand’. Clearly they haven’t and a national action plan is overdue.

Our latest initiatives:

Overview of SNAICC's Response to the federal government's NT Emergency Measures

SNAICC's 10 Point National Action Plan to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect (briefing paper)

Responding to Child Abuse in NT – What You Can Do


Combined NT Aboriginal Organisations – Proposed Emergency Response and Plan to Protect Aboriginal Children

10 July 2007 

Aboriginal organisations in the Northern Territory, in conjunction with other community sector organisations such as SNAICC, have announced proposals to keep children in Aboriginal communities safe from harm. It is also a response the federal government's intervention in the NT.

SNAICC contributed to, and is supporting, the paper and its recommendations.

Find out more about the proposed Emergency Response and Development Plan to protect Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory here


SNAICC Media Statements

26 June 2007

Howard and Rudd on the wrong path on child abuse prevention

Raises concerns that Prime Minister Howard and Opposition Leader Rudd are both on the wrong path on child abuse prevention, and that "talk of increased policing, sending in the army, hurricanes, tsunamis and war time cabinets is creating fear and anxiety amongst Indigenous children and families."

22  June 2007

Prime Minister told of Neglect and Abuse in the Territory Four Years Ago, says Chair of Peak Indigenous Children’s Services Body

SNAICC's concerns that the federal government's response to child abuse in NT Aboriginal communities does not offer the comprehensive child protection plan required to turn around abuse in remote communities.

20 June 2007

'Federal Response to Indigenous Child Abuse Must Strengthen Not Weaken Families' is available here.

The federal government's responses to child abuse in Indigenous communites must strengthen families, not disempower them.


Joint Public Statement

26  June 2007

SNAICC joined with ACOSS and other community sector organisations and Indigenous services across the country in an open letter to Minister Brough responding to the government's emergency response.

The full letter is published on the ACOSS website (link takes you out of SNAICC's website):

Open letter to The Hon. Mal Brough MP – 26 June 2007


Other SNAICC Comments and Responses in the media

SNAICC's comments and responses have been taken up by the media at various times. These include (please note, this is not an exhaustive list):

8 July 2007: SNAICC Chairperson Muriel Bamblett appeared on SBS's Living Black programme on 8 July, in a panel discussion on the issues surrounding the federal government's involvement in the Northern Territory. The panel included Tom Calma (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner) and Elliot McAdam (NT Minister for Central Australia).

Details of the speical NAIDOC programme are on Living Black's website, where it can also be viewed online.

27 June 2007: Opinion Piece by SNAICC Chairperson Muriel Bamblett, 'Please listen to us, PM', published in The Age. (link takes you out of SNAICC website)

21 June 2007: Interview by SNAICC Chairperson Muriel Bamblett with Jon Faine on ABC Radio Melbourne 774 AM. The programme can be heard online from ABC Radio Melbourne's website. (link takes you out of SNAICC website)


SNAICC Briefing Papers, Reports and Resources

Development of a National Action Plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect (Briefing Paper, May 2006)
SNAICC prepared this briefing for all State and Territory Premiers and Chief Ministers on the need for a national approach to dealing with child abuse and neglect ahead of the National Summit of Australian government ministers on violence in Indigenous communities held in June 2006.

Development of a National Action Plan (PDF 100 KB)

State of Denial: The neglect and abuse of Indigenous children in the Northern Territory (published 2003)

This SNAICC report provides an analysis of the systemic failure of the child protection system in the Northern Territory to meet the needs of Indigenous children and families. Includes interviews with key non-government agencies, statistical overview of the child protection system, discussion and reform proposals.

Re-printed copies can now be ordered online here

PDF available for download from here (1.2 MB)

SNAICC's Submission to NT Board of Inquiry into Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse

SNAICC completed a detailed submission for the Northern Territory Board of Inquiry into sexual abuse of Aboriginal children. SNAICC recommended a major overhaul of the child protection system within the Northern Territory.

More information on this submission (and a PDF to download) is here

Child Abuse and Family Violence Resource Page

A collection of online resources, information and contacts to assist those developing responses to family violence, sexual assault and child abuse and neglect in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Compiled by the SNAICC Resource Service (SRS) and updated regularly.

Child abuse and family violence resource page


Other Resources


NT Government 'Stop Abuse' website

The NT Government has published a new website on the recent child abuse measures in the territory. The site covers the NT Government's response to the federal government's intervention to stop child abuse in Aboriginal communities and its own initiatives and responses to the issue.

Australian Government Intervention on Child Abuse in NT Indigenous Communities website (link takes you out of SNAICC website)


Opinion, Comment and Analysis


'Securing Indigenous children’s well being' (Conference Paper) 11 July 2007

By Terri Libesman (Law Faculty, University Technology Sydney)

UTS law lecturer Terri Libesman, who has an extensive research background and expertise on Indigenous self determination and legislation and policy relating to the welfare and well being of Indigenous children, has given SNAICC permission to share online her recent conference paper analysing this issue.

Securing Indigenous children’s well being (PDF, 64 KB)

AIDA Media Statement (22 June 2007) New!

The Australian Indigenous Doctors Association (AIDA) expressed strong concerns about the proposed compulsory health checks of Aboriginal children originally mooted as part of the federal intervention in NT.

AIDA Media Statement (PDF, 28 KB)

AMSANT Media Statement (22 June 2007) New!

The Northern Territory’s peak Aboriginal health body strongly criticised the federal government's intervention into the territory.

AMSANT Media Statement (PDF, 40 KB)

VALS Media Statement (27 June 2007) New!

"Listen to us, work with us" is the message to the Prime Minister on the intervention Response from VALS (Victorian Aboriginal Legal Services Co-operative).

VALS media statement (PDF, 100 KB)


The NT Board of Inquiry into Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse

The Northern Territory Government released the report from its Board of Inquiry into Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse on 15 June 2007. You can find it on their website. There is a Summary and a full Inquiry Report:

Ampe Akelyernemane Meke Mekarle – “Little Children are Sacred” Report of the Board of Inquiry into Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse (link takes you out of SNAICC website).


Seeking Help and Support

Those with concerns regarding child abuse and/or sexual assault, or have concerns for friends or family members, can seek support and assistance from various services.

Kids Help Line - telephone 1800 55 1800
Kids Help Line is a free and confidential, 24-hour telephone counselling service for 5 to 25 year olds in Australia. Their website also contains a range of advice and provides online counselling.

The Domestic Violence and Incest Resource Service has 'Helpful Information on Abuse & Violence' on their website.

Reporting abuse or neglect

If you know or suspect a child is being mistreated, you should report your concern to the child protection authority in your State or Territory.

Telephone numbers for each state/territory child protection authority

Links and contact details for a range of services are on the Family Violence and Child Abuse Resource Page.


First published 27 June 2007

Updated 31 July 2007

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