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Northern Territory Government Australia

Inquiry into the Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse




Overview of the work of the Inquiry

The Board of Inquiry held some 260 meetings with stakeholders around the Northern Territory during the course of its work. This included meetings with service delivery organisations, Aboriginal communities, government agency staff and individuals.

The Board conducted consultations in the main regional centres of Darwin, Nhulunbuy, Katherine, and Alice Springs.  It has also visited and held meetings in regional and remote communities on the Tiwi Islands, in the East Arnhem region including Groote Eylandt and Elcho Island, western Arnhem Land, the Daly River region, the Katherine region, the Barkly region, and Central Australia.

An innovative DVD for Aboriginal communities was produced in the early stages of the Inquiry to inform Indigenous communities about the Inquiry. It introduced the Board members, Pat Anderson and Rex Wild QC, and aimed to encourage discussion about ways to better protect Aboriginal children from sexual abuse.

An Expert Reference Group was appointed in September 2006 and was an important resource for the Board of Inquiry, offering advice and assistance in areas such as best practice approaches in child protection, issues for Aboriginal communities, and consultations with community and stakeholder organisations.  The Reference Group also provided advice in respect of the preparation of the Inquiry’s report and recommendations.

In February and early March, the Board held forums in Katherine, Nhulunbuy, Darwin and Alice Springs for delegates of Aboriginal communities and organisations in each region to review the findings of the Inquiry’s community consultations and to workshop key issues.

The Inquiry’s call for written submissions had a strong response, with 65 submissions received from a wide range of individuals and organisations.

In the course of its work, the Board also studied reports and literature about child sexual abuse from other Australian and international jurisdictions, and collected a range of information and statistics relevant to the Inquiry’s terms of reference.