Aboriginal community leaders are calling for answers after a baby girl died while her mother was in police custody.
NT Police arrested the 21-year-old mother of the four-month-old baby and a five-year-old girl at a public housing unit in Katherine East on Sunday morning.
The girls’ mother was still with police when the baby died later that day.
Jawoyn Association Aboriginal Corporation chairperson Lisa Mumbin is calling for answers, and says police need to make sure children are safe if they are placing a parent under arrest.
“What took place is totally unacceptable,” she said.
“I really believe there needs to be answers.
“There needs to be a gathering of leaders and more information and more action coming from the authorities, it’s a very serious matter and it’s very painful.”
NT Police said it was not treating the death as suspicious and said the major crime squad was investigating.
Police said it was standard procedure for the major crimes squad to investigate the death of a baby.
They said a full report on the circumstances would be delivered to the coroner.
The Northern Territory’s Children’s Commissioner, Colleen Gwynne, confirmed on Thursday she was undertaking preliminary inquiries following the incident.
“The Children’s Commissioner is aware of the tragic death of the baby in Katherine and received a briefing on Wednesday morning,” Ms Gwynne said.
“The Commissioner has formally requested further information and is undertaking preliminary enquiries including a review of family history and interactions with services.”
On Thursday, NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner declined to comment on the matter.
“My understanding is there is an active investigation there and I can’t comment on that,” Mr Gunner said.