Child Abuse Task Force

1800 700 250

About the CAT

Created in June 2006, the Child Abuse Taskforce was a joint initiative between Northern Territory Police and Northern Territory Families and Children (NTFC) now known as the Office of Children and Families (OCF).

This involved the co-location of Major Crime and OCF Investigators, a centralised intake service and an Aboriginal Community Resource Team (ACRT). In early 2007 the Taskforce was joined by its third partner, the Australian Federal Police.

Happy kids

Late in 2007 the Northern Territory Emergency Response increased public and political awareness of child abuse and neglect. This resulted in increased funding and resources to deal with the issue.

The broad specialist knowledge and resources of the taskforce has broadened the role of police from an exclusively criminal prosecution focus to a more holistic approach involving the protection and wellbeing of the child, family and community development. Even when a successful prosecution is not possible, the Taskforce continues to work with victims, offenders and the community to encourage positive outcome.

Cases are jointly reviewed and allocated by police and OCF. Complex matters are investigated by the Taskforce, less complex matters are referred to local offices of the respective agencies.

A Taskforce Investigation usually consists of a multi agency team of specialists. Criminal matters are referred for prosecution, OCF continues the protection of the child and ACRT members focus on community needs and co-ordination of further resources.

The most complex matters require all elements of the Taskforce to contribute to the development of Community Action Plans which set out strategies for reducing the underlying causal factors of child abuse and neglect.

Future challenges for the taskforce include maintaining the current focus on child abuse, and furthering the development of partnerships with other government and non-government organisations.