The Child Death and Serious Injury Review Committee (CDSIRC) contributes to the prevention of death and serious injury of South Australian children.
- is an independent, statutory body established under the Children and Young People (Oversight and Advocacy Bodies) Act 2016
- has reviewed the circumstances and causes of all child deaths in South Australia since 2005
- collects and analyses information about these deaths from government agencies including the Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages, the Department for Child Protection, and the South Australian Coroner’s Court
- reviews some deaths and serious injuries of children in more detail, and might look for information from agencies such as the Department for Education, SA Health, non-government organisations and private practitioners if they have provided services to the child or their family.
The committee provides recommendations to the Minister for Education about improvements to legislation, policies or administrative issues based on its reviews, and on the statistical information about child deaths that it has collected and analysed.
The committee reports directly to the Minister for Education and provides an annual report to the South Australian Parliament.
- summarises the committee’s reviews and recommendations to help prevent death and serious injury to children, and notes government response to those reviews and recommendations
- provides information on the deaths of children (from birth to 18 years) from many causes including illness and disease, transport crashes, suicide, and drowning
- shows whether the death rates of vulnerable groups of children are improving or not. These groups include Aboriginal children, children with disability, and children living in poor socioeconomic circumstances.
The Freedom of Information Act 1991 gives individuals a right to access records. However, the Committee is exempt from providing records under this Act, as articulated in Section 38 of the Children and Young People (Oversight and Advocacy Bodies) Act 2016:
‘Information about individual cases disclosed to the Committee or a person employed (or formerly employed) to assist the Committee is to be kept confidential and is not liable to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 1991.’
Committee membership and secretariat
Committee members are appointed by the Minister for Education and have expertise in child health and welfare, psychology, advocacy, justice, Aboriginal and youth issues.
The Committee is assisted by a small secretariat administered through the Department for Education.
Guiding principles of the Committee
These are the formal guiding principles of the Child Death and Serious Injury Review Committee:
- Children are persons aged from birth up to but not including 18 years of age, where the term ‘children’ includes infants, children and young people within that age range.
- When undertaking its work the committee will, at all times, focus its attention on children’s needs and interests.
- The reviews conducted by the committee will be timely and based on a comprehensive, systematic assessment of the preventability of the death or serious injury.
- The recommendations made by the committee will be based on:
- the review of child deaths and serious injuries
- the accurate analysis of relevant, local information and reports relating to child deaths and serious injuries
- the review of policies, practices, procedures and legislation that may impact upon children’s safety and protection or may seek to prevent child deaths and serious injuries.
- In conducting reviews and making recommendations, the committee recognises the importance of different cultures.
- The committee will conduct each review with respect for the child and the family and their privacy, and will not publish confidential information or information that would identify a particular person.
- The committee recognises as a priority the importance of reducing the incidence of child deaths and serious injuries in particular population groups where there is a higher incidence of these events, such as amongst rural children and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
- In conducting its reviews and making its recommendations, the committee acknowledges:
- that the responsibility for responding to and preventing child death and serious injuries lies with the community and the whole of government, not with any single entity
- that it is not concerned with determining criminal responsibility or negligence, and
- that its reviews are not an alternative to the investigation of child deaths or serious injuries by the police and the coroner, or to the investigation by government agencies of departmental responses to the circumstances surrounding the death of a child or serious injury to a child for whom they are responsible.
- In conducting reviews and making recommendations, the committee seeks to:
- inform government and community of strategies, policies and programs to prevent future child deaths and serious injury
- improve interagency coordination, communication and cooperation in all aspects of child protection and injury prevention
- improve community understanding of how and why children die or are seriously injured and of the need for programs aimed at improving child health, safety and protection
- encourage a greater community responsibility for the nurturing and protection of all children
- recognise and foster what is already done well with regard to child protection and injury prevention
- contribute to an understanding of why people harm children and with that understanding advise on ways of addressing these issues.