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FASD a major factor in Aboriginal suicide in WA says Telethon Kids Institute researcher

Date posted: 6 July 2017

James Fitzpatrick from the Telethon Kids Institute has given evidence at an inquest into the suicides of 13 young Aboriginal people in the Kimberley, including five children aged between 10 and 13.

All of them had been exposed to alcohol abuse and domestic violence in the home, and there is evidence some likely suffered from Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).

Dr Fitzpatrick is a clinical researcher who led a major research project in the Fitzroy Valley and now runs a community-based FASD prevention strategy.

He told the inquest despite being entire preventable, FASD was the most potent driver of disadvantage and suicide in remote communities, yet was not being taken seriously.

'Families themselves have to step up and take responsibility and control of the situation,' said Dr Fitzpatrick.

He also raised the need for the developmental disorder to be de-stigmatised by the medical profession, calling on general practitioners to have frank discussions with pregnant patients in order to identify at-risk babies.

In the coming weeks the inquest heads north, with hearings scheduled in Broome, Kununurra, Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing.

There, the coroner will hear from local agencies and the victims' families about what drove the young people to take their own lives and what could have been done to prevent it.

Source: ABC News


Last updated: 6 July 2017
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