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Shocking number of children diagnosed with STIs in remote Outback region

Shocking new statistics show at least 66 children aged under 14 have contracted STIs over the last three years in Western Australia.

The Kimberley region alone had 27 cases reported to the Department of Communities over the entire period, and 14 of those were in the 2020/21 financial year.

In the same year the Pilbara and Goldfields regions had five cases each, according to figures revealed during Western Australia’s first parliamentary sitting for 2024, ABC News reported.

A Department of Communities spokesperson said: “Communities will always respond to the immediate safety of children where concerns are received.

“All notifications of STIs detected in children under 14 years are assessed by the mandatory reporting service and, where appropriate, referred to the relevant child protection district and/or WA police for further investigation.

But the spokesperson warned: “Data in relation to STIs needs to be considered carefully and in the appropriate context. Not all recorded STIs are indicative of harmful sexual activity and/or abuse”.

According to the 2021 Census the Kimberley region is 41.1% Indigenous, 45.9% non-Indigenous, and 13.1% not stated.

In November Liberal MP Neil Thomson told the West Australian the region was a “breaking point” due to rampant violence, including a dozen high-profile sex crimes in just two years.

In the city of Broome crime is up 178.8% since the 2014/15 financial year, and tough liquor restrictions are now being considered.

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