Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory

On 28 July 2016, former Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, announced the establishment of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory (Royal Commission).

The Royal Commission focused on the specific systemic problems identified within the Northern Territory, how those problems arose, the failure to identify and correct them, and appropriate reforms.

On 17 November 2017, the Royal Commission released the Final Report. The Report contains 147 findings and makes 227 recommendations, outlining a long-term reform agenda to the Northern Territory’s child protection and youth justice systems.

198 of the 227 recommendations are matters for the Northern Territory Government (NTG), which has responsibility for managing and administering their child protection and youth justice systems. One further recommendation (3.2) is for the Northern, Central, Tiwi and Anindilyakwa Land Councils.

The Commonwealth response to the Report was released on 8 February 2018. The Commonwealth has sole or joint responsibility for 28 recommendations and supports, or supports in-principle, 26 of these.

Commonwealth Response to the Royal Commission

The Department of Social Services (DSS) is leading work across the Commonwealth Government to respond to the 26 recommendations. The primary objective of which is to improve the lives of children and prevent them from entering the youth justice and child protection systems within the Northern Territory, through the improved coordination of services.

DSS is strongly committed to working in partnership with all levels of government, the non-government sector and community to improve outcomes for vulnerable families and children.

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