ACT Victims of Crime Commissioner John Hinchey has welcomed a probe into child protection systems sparked by the killing of Bradyn Dillon, 8, and said the case highlighted an urgent need for better information sharing on family violence matters.
The ACT government announced an independent investigation would examine whether systemic failings were linked to Bradyn's death soon after his father was charged with his murder last week.
Graham Dillon, 37, was arrested at his Jacka home and remains behind bars.
The incident prompted ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell to announce on Friday that an external reviewer would investigate the way the Dillon case and others of its type were handled.
He confirmed the family had been engaged with the territory's Community Services Directorate.
Importantly, the review will look at whether the agencies that work together on child protection matters properly shared information with each other, and across state and territory borders.
Mr Hinchey said while he did not want to pre-empt any potential findings from the review, he supported the government's decision to examine the child protection systems involved in the case.
"My heart goes out to young Bradyn Dillon and his family and loved ones and my thoughts are with them, and Victim Support stands ready to provide them with any assistance they need.
"I think that Bradyn's death highlights the issue of information sharing across services and systems and the need for governments to share information across borders.
Mr Hinchey said concerns over the way domestic violence information was handled were raised at an extraordinary meeting of the ACT Domestic Violence Prevention Council last year.
Anti-family violence campaigners across Australia have consistently advocated for more effective ways of sharing details of family violence cases as a critical component in driving down rates of domestic abuse and related deaths.
"We are increasingly becoming mindful that timely access to information about families who are at risk is critical to the management of those risks and, unless we begin sharing information across service systems, we have no way of managing that risk," Mr Hinchey said.
"Police, health, housing, education, mental health, child protect services - these services are a repository for pieces of information about families that, when they're put together, create a much clearer picture of the risk they face through family violence and domestic violence.
"Work is already under way but Bradyn's death creates another imperative that this work is urgently required, and the review is welcomed in that context."
Mr Hinchey last year called for a national shift in the "culture of secrecy" around personal information on domestic violence victims and perpetrators at the 2015 STOP Domestic Violence Conference in Canberra.
But he said common perceptions about privacy rights, laws and policy guidelines often prevented information about safety risks being pooled between services – a limitation he said had "deadly consequences".
The ACT's domestic and family violence co-ordinator-general Vicki Parker has acknowledged better information sharing would have a huge impact on the territory's response to domestic abuse but any mechanism would need to balance privacy concerns.
Mr Corbell last week said he would give the reviewer the legal authority to access protected information, and expected the review to make recommendations to government on the strengthening of child protection systems.
Bradyn's aunt remembered him as a gentle soul and a happy, loving child who wouldn't hurt a fly.
Shocked neighbours placed flowers, soft toys and candles and gathered for nightly vigils outside the Jacka home last week.