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Aboriginal children's mental health and safety

The Commissioner for Children and Young People WA Mr Colin Pettit publicly releases the following comments:

  • “The senseless death of any child or young person is a tragedy and I am deeply saddened to hear of the apparent suicide of a very young Aboriginal girl in the State’s north.
  • As I believe is occurring, it is essential for all available crisis-response resources to be provided into the relevant communities to support this girl’s family and friends and to ensure their safety.
  • Also essential is to maintain the long-term approach to address the deeply complex issues that some Aboriginal communities face that put children’s lives at risk.
  • Since my appointment as Commissioner I have become aware of some encouraging work occurring in government and the not-for-profit sector.
  • We must make longer-term financial commitments to programs and services that are making children safer and provide the stability these communities need.
  • In December I tabled in Parliament the office’s second report on the mental health of our children that outlines the ongoing lack of appropriate mental health services for Aboriginal children and young people and their families. This report makes a recommendation to address this shortage and I will be closely monitoring and reporting on the response by government in this area as too many young lives are being lost.
  • I am travelling to the Kimberley in the coming weeks and the mental health and safety of children and young people will be a high priority in my discussions with communities I visit.
  • I will be seeking to work with the State-wide Aboriginal community to find solutions that make a real and ongoing difference in children’s lives.”