A former child welfare worker says she could have done nothing more to prevent a 12-year-old girl from a remote Aboriginal community taking her own life, despite not removing her from dreadful living conditions.
The WA coroner is investigating 13 deaths in the Kimberley in three-and-a-half years, five of which involved children aged between 10 and 13. According to research centre Creative Spirits, Aboriginal people are six times more likely to die by suicide, compared to non-Aboriginal people in Australia.
The child spent the first 11 years of her life at the Oombulgurri community, which was so dysfunctional it was closed in 2011 amid suspicions of widespread child abuse.
The girl, believed to be a possible victim of sexual assault, began drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis 10 months before her death.
About one month before the tragedy, she ran away from her home in Wyndham and had made a number of threats to kill herself.
The Department for Child Protection was notified about her high risk of self-harm, yet she had no contact with any mental health services.
— ABC News Perth (@abcnewsPerth) August 15, 2017