Failings exposed over girl’s fuel-sex suicide

Natasha Robinson; 5/6/09

Police, health and child protection workers all failed to act on clear warning signs that the life of a 15-year-old Aboriginal girl who was exchanging sex for petrol in a remote central Australian community was in danger. Northern Territory Coroner Greg Cavanagh handed down findings yesterday into the suicide of the girl from Mutitjulu, near Uluru, and blamed the NT’s then department of family and community services for failing to co-ordinate a plan to help her. The girl, whose real name has been suppressed by the coroner and is known as Kunmanara, had been of concern to FACS for at least two years before her death in 2006, the coroner found. FACS received two notifications as early as May and July 2003 that the then 13-year-old Kunmanara was being sexually abused.