Ten-year-old Aboriginal girl kills herself in far north Western Australia
It's odds-on that she was abused by Aboriginal men in her community. Child abuse is rife in such communities. So I fail to see that this is the responsibility of whites. To do anything real about it, you would have to change the responses of Aboriginal men -- and it would take very tough intervention to do that. All the social workers in the world would achieve nothing. Aborigines in the Kimberly are very close to their tribal ways so have little to restrain them from being rough on women and children
A 10-year-old Aboriginal girl has taken her own life in far north Western Australia, the youngest of 19 Indigenous people to kill themselves in remote areas of the state since December.
Guardian Australia understands the girl died on Sunday in the small community of Looma, 3,912km north of Perth.
It is one of the youngest reported suicides of an Aboriginal person in WA and follows the death of an 11-year-old Geraldton boy, Peter Little, on 19 October 2014, which prompted the state government to announce a $26m suicide prevention program.
A suicide researcher, Gerry Georgatos, will travel to Looma to support the community in his role as a coordinator for the Indigenous suicide critical response unit, a $1m federally funded trial program that aims to provide culturally appropriate assistance to curb the flow-on effects of suicide.
“This tragedy has affected not only her community but surrounding communities that she had been moved around within,” Georgatos told Guardian Australia. “Many families and communities need support.”
It’s the 16th such trip he has made since taking up the position. The first was to support a community in the Goldfields, near Kalgoorlie, where three people took their lives within a month. “We buried three kids in five days,” Georgatos told Guardian Australia. “The graves were alongside each other, three in a row.”
The youngest on that occasion was a 15-year-old girl.
WA’s mental health minister, Helen Morton, said it was “devastating that a child of 10 would even consider taking their own life”. She said: “Circumstances are not yet clear but I find it deeply concerning.”
Morton said the girl was not in the care of the department of child protection, but the department had been providing support to her extended family “and will continue to do so during this very difficult time”.
Scullion said the interim advice he had received was that existing suicide response services were often not well-coordinated or delivered in a culturally appropriate way, which led to the funding of the Indigenous suicide critical response unit.
“The minister is deeply saddened by the news of the latest Indigenous child suicide in the Kimberley and it has reinforced his resolve to do everything he can to prevent suicide and the enormous grief it causes families and communities,” a spokesman for Scullion told Guardian Australia.
Wes Morris is coordinator of the Kimberley Aboriginal Language and Culture Centre which runs the Yiriman Project, a culture-based program led by elders from four language groups that aims to reduce suicide by making young people resilient in their culture. He said suicide would be raised as an issue at regional meetings to discuss the state’s remote community reform plans this week.
“What we need to be investing in is culturally appropriate programs of resilience and healing, to show young people where they fit into their culture and possibilities for their future,” Morris said.