Child Maltreatment in Remote Aboriginal Communities and the Northern Territory Emergency Response: A Complex Issue
AbstractForty years after the 1967 Referendum and 10 years after the Bringing Them Home inquiry published its report into the Stolen Generations, in June 2007 the Howard Federal Government launched an Emergency Response intervention in the Northern Territory, having recognised the urgent need to reduce the incidence of child maltreatment in remote Aboriginal communities. This intervention was developed in response to the Northern Territory Government report on child sexual abuse in Indigenous children that described the urgency of the situation. In the present review of the literature, the complexity of the issue of child maltreatment, in particular child sexual abuse, in Indigenous Australia is explored. The Northern Territory Emergency Response1 is examined in the light of research evidence, detailed in numerous government reports, that reducing child maltreatment in Aboriginal communities necessitates both Aboriginal self-determination and extensive consultation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people working in the field. The extent to which the Emergency Response is evidence based and the complexity of making a report about child maltreatment, in particular child sexual abuse, in a remote Aboriginal communities are explored. Implications for policy and practice are also discussed.