Children in the Northern Territory are not being given enough protection.
Children in the Northern Territory are not being given enough protection. Claudia Baxter

Four year old girl 'smelt like faeces' but left in home

THE Northern Territory Government is too slow to remove children from homes where they suffer abuse or neglect, the royal commission into youth justice has heard.

Former NT chief magistrate Hilary Hannam told the commission Territory kids languished in "conditions that we would say are unacceptable in 21st century Australia".

She said one four-year-old girl didn't reach the threshold for action by the child protection department after 10 notifications, despite coming to school with a large head injury on one occasion.

The little girl was "unclean and smelt like faeces".

Later, she was alleged to have been indecently assaulted, but still no action was taken as a result of "insufficient evidence". Eventually, the little girl was taken to hospital with a suspicious broken arm.

Only when she was "abandoned" by her family for a fortnight with a bone infection was anything done.

Justice Hannam said underresourced child protection agencies did not take away children without cause.

Comparisons to the Stolen Generation were invalid and "diminished the experiences" of those who were taken away under assimilation policies, she said.

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