WA News


Indigenous youth suicides in WA: Girl, 13, told people she planned to end her life

A 13-year-old Aboriginal girl who killed herself in 2013 told at least two people including a community elder about her plans to end her life in the days before but nothing was done.

The girl's death and that of her younger sister three years later at the age of 10 is part of a cluster of suicides involving 13 young indigenous people in the Kimberley and is the subject of an inquest - one of the largest in Australia in years - that started in Perth last month and is being held in Broome this week.

One of those the girl told about wanting to die was a respected female community elder and board member on the Kalumburu Corporation who told her "to cheer up and not to do anything silly".

She did nothing and told nobody about it until after the girl had died, child protection worker Rosalee Webb told the inquest being held by Coroner Ros Fogliani.

"When people threaten it all the time, you hear it three to four time a week ... it lessens the seriousness," she said.

A depressing description was given of the children's lives in Kalumburu, the northernmost community in WA, in which they are surrounded by dysfunction, alcohol and cannabis abuse, violence and sexual abuse and suffer attachment issues due to a lack of care from their parents.


The inquest continues on Tuesday, when it will examine the deaths of a 17-year- old boy found at the town's football oval in 2015 - who has been described as neglected from the moment he was born - and a 24-year-old man who also died in Broome.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Local Aboriginal Medical Service details available from www.bettertoknow.org.au/AMS