Putting the Picture Together: Inquiry into Response by Government Agencies to Complaints of Family Violence and Child Abuse in Aboriginal Communities


This inquiry was required to examine the actions of government agencies in responding to complaints of family violence and child abuse in Aboriginal communities, with particular reference to the death of 15 year old Susan Anne Taylor at the Swan Valley Nyoongar Community; and to examine causes, prevalence and solutions to Aboriginal family violence. The inquiry provides a comprehensive review of the services of seven Western Australian government agencies that most directly address the problems of family violence and child abuse; finds that in relation to the death of Susan Taylor there should be no finding adverse to any individual but that there should be systemic attention given to the management of difficult and complex cases; recommends that there should be a requirement for certain health professionals to notify instances of sexually transmitted diseases in children under 13 years to the Western Australian Department for Community Development; finds that there are no limitations to DNA testing in Aboriginal communities; and articulates a community focused systemic response to address the escalating rates of family violence and child abuse in Aboriginal communities. The inquiry makes almost 200 recommendations and findings, and believes that it is imperative that an implementation body be established to oversee the implementation of these recommendations. Among the appendices to the report are appendices discussing Australian legislative definitions of child abuse; mandatory reporting requirements in Australia; various definitions of child abuse; and various definitions of family and domestic violence.

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