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Twelve child deaths from families known to authorities

Seven Canberra children have died in the past three years despite being the subject of official Child Protection Reports in the last years of their lives.

And the newly established Child Death Review Committee has found another five deaths of children in families who were known to authorities and where Child Protection Reports had been received.

The committee, in its first annual report, has pledged that it will make it a priority to investigate the 12 deaths of the vulnerable or at risk children when its work begins in earnest this financial year.

“In the period from July 2009 to June 2012, seven children and young people died who, within three years of their deaths, were the subject of a Child Protection Report,” the report reads.

“As the Committee commences its reviewing work, it will seek more information about these children and young people and will review the cases in some detail.”

The 12-member committee found there were 80 child deaths in the territory between July 2009 and June 2012.


Fifty two of the of the deaths were infants less than 12 months old, eight were children aged less than four years and 15 were children and young people aged four to 17 years.

Six deaths remain subject to coronial inquiries and were not included in the statistics.

The Committee, which was established in September 2011, warned against drawing conclusions about the small data set that it had gathered so far and the relatively few child deaths in the territory in the past three years.

“Once the Committee is in a position to critically reflect on the qualitative, contextual data about individual deaths, it will be possible to consider what this might mean for the many services and interventions directed at children and young people, including those provided by the health education, welfare and youth justice sectors,”  the committee wrote.