Safe houses and child protection workers

A Family Support Package is being funded as part of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER), announced by the former Government in June 2007.

A collaboration between the Australian and Northern Territory (NT) Governments, the Family Support Package has been allocated $21.8 million over 2007-08 and 2008-09 to support families in remote priority communities.

Services include:

  • establishment or expansion of Safe Houses
  • a Mobile Child Protection Team of 10-12 workers, and
  • the recruitment of additional Remote Aboriginal Family and Community Workers.

Family-support services in Alice Springs and Darwin have been expanded and new Safe Houses built in up to 16 remote communities. The communities to receive safe houses were chosen through consultation and an assessment of need.

In communities that do not receive a safe house, the NT and Australian Governments have provided alternative ways of protecting children and improving family safety, including the establishment of night patrols.

In addition to providing Safe Houses for families experiencing violence, the Family Support Package also aims to increase the capacity of the NT Government's child-protection workforce.

The NT Government has been funded to recruit child-protection workers to establish the Mobile Child Protection Team. The team is based in Darwin and travels to remote locations as needed, to provide additional support for children. In NTER communities, the team works closely with local support services, Aboriginal Family and Community Workers and police.

The Remote Aboriginal Family and Community Workers are a culturally appropriate liaison and linkage point between the child-protection system, support services, Indigenous families and communities. The workers help link families with local family-safety or safe-house programs, night patrols, mental-health workers and child-health workers.

These workers also provide regional intelligence about child-protection issues for the Mobile Child Protection Team, the NT Government and the community.

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