Northern Territory police on Wednesday afternoon revealed they are investigating the death of a young Indigenous girl while her mother was in police custody on Sunday.
Taking place in Katherine N.T police have confirmed that the 21 year old mother of the child and a 5 year old girl was taken into custody before the baby’s death was reported to police.
“This is a tragic event and the police are focused on completing a thorough investigation into all of the circumstances,” a police statement said.
Indigenous community leaders are demanding answers, calling for police to make sure children are safe in the event of a parent being placed under arrest.
Jawoyn Association Aboriginal Corporation chairperson Lisa Mumbin says “What took place is totally unacceptable,”.
“There needs to be a gathering of leaders and more information and more action coming from the authorities, it’s a very serious matter and it’s very painful.” She said.
Children’s Commissioner Colleen Gwynne said she had received a briefing on Wednesday morning and have made a formal request for further information into the incident.
Ms Gwynne says she is undertaking preliminary inquiries including a review of family history and interactions with services before she decides whether to investigate fully.
NT Police said it was not treating the death as suspicious and that the major crime squad was investigating, with a full report on the circumstances, to be prepared for the coroner.