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New report to tackle high rates of unintentional injury among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are still dying from unintentional injuries at the same rate as 15 years ago, a new report has highlighted. Yet death rates for non-Aboriginal children have halved in the same period.

The report – Active and Safe – by The George Institute, The Australian Health Services Research Institute, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, Kidsafe NSW and the Australasian Injury Prevention Network calls for injury prevention in Aboriginal communities to be made a priority.

The report provides a set of NSW Health funded guidelines developed from research undertaken in 2016.

Australian and NSW data show rates of injury to Aboriginal children to be consistently higher than for non-Aboriginal children, with the mortality rates for Australian children from injury-related causes almost five times higher and hospitalisation rates two times higher than the rate for non-Aboriginal children.

The guidelines are intended to assist a number of stakeholder groups working in Aboriginal child injury prevention including: Aboriginal community controlled organisations, non-government organisations; researchers and government policy makers.

“We need the government to work alongside and be guided by Aboriginal communities to build on community strengths and promote the resilience of Aboriginal children, families and communities in injury prevention,”

said Keziah Bennett-Brook, Manager of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Program at The George Institute.

“The new guidelines have a strong focus on practical implementation and will be a valuable tool for policy makers, researchers and practitioners,” she said.

The guidelines were also developed and designed to complement the Australia edition of the Child Safety Good Practice Guide which provides practitioners, decision-makers, and legislators with an evidence-focused resource on which they can base their work, funding and recommendations.

The Active and Safe guidelines are being released today to coincide with the launch of the Ngarruwan Ngadju: First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre located within the Australian Health Services Research Institute at the University of Wollongong and led by Professor Kathleen Clapham.

Download the full report 'Active & Safe: Preventing unintentional injury to Aboriginal children and young people in NSW' (PDF 2.4 MB)