Mayor of Aboriginal community knew of underage girls given contraceptive implants

Claims by the State Opposition that doctors have given contraceptive implants to girls without their parents' permission have been to some extent supported by the leader of a central Queensland Aboriginal community.

The Mayor of Woorabinda, Roderick Tobane says he is aware of girls as young as 12 being given contraceptives.

Roderick Tobane, says he has knowledge of six girls under 16 who have received the implants but he says their parents have acknowledged their children are sexually active and taken steps to ensure they do not become pregnant.

Opposition child safety spokeswoman Jan Stuckey says that she became aware of the practice on a visit earlier this year to two indigenous communities - Aurukun on Cape York and Woorabinda, west of Rockhampton and raised her concerns with the police.

The State Opposition claims have been denied by Queensland Health who say doctors always seek parental consent.

Dr. Linda Selvey Queensland Health's acting chief health officer says the practice was rare but warranted in some circumstances.

Dr. Selvey says it is important that such health issues are not sensationalised because they are complex and sensitive and the decision to use to use the implants for minors was never taken lightly.

Dr. Selvey says Queensland Health uses education campaigns to inform people about the risk of unwanted pregnancies, but in some cases they had limited impact in minimising harm.

Premier Anna Bligh says if a girl is in state care, the Child Safety Department becomes involved and the authorities act in 'loco parentis' and make health decisions as they do if those children require surgery.

Child Safety Minister Margaret Keech says where department staff became aware of underage sex, including cases where girls had sought contraception, it was reported to police as required by law.

Ms Keech says the Department of Child Safety can only intervene if a child does not have a parent willing or able to protect them from risk or harm.

The issue has raised the ire of child safety advocates who are demanding more be done to stop underage sex.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment
You might also like...
An overview of COVID-19-associated neurological complications in children