Date: 
Thursday 7 February 2019

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO says the report into the deaths of 13 Aboriginal children and young people must be the turning point for action.

The West Australian Coroner Ros Fogliani has today handed down her report into the suicides in the Kimberley region between November 12 and March 2016.

Commissioner Oscar said unlike the many previous inquiries that have taken place, the 42 recommendations contained in this report must be implemented.

“This time, there must be action. There have been more than 700 recommendations from 40 inquiries into Aboriginal youth suicide and related factors over the past 14 years and our children are still dying.

“We need radical change to the level of support across the Kimberley and for the many families affected by suicide in communities across the region.

“It is heartbreaking and frustrating to hear people in these communities say that they feel unsupported to deal with these issues. They must be supported.

“We are not talking about an isolated issue of health. This is about inter-generational trauma and healing.

“The evidence is clearly showing us that we need to do more to support families in the vital prevention work, to keep our kids alive.

“It’s absolutely critical, that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are involved in the co-design and delivery of programs and services dealing with our young people.

“We need to support our community organisations to do this difficult and complex work. We are the experts and we must be supported over the long term, not just with ad hoc, short-term funding,” Commissioner Oscar said.

Media contact: Lindy Kerin 0430 366 529