NSW Child Death Review Team and ‘Reviewable’ deaths of children in NSW: Information for NSW agencies

Who we are

NSW has two independent statutory functions to review the deaths of children in NSW. Both are undertaken within the Office of the NSW Ombudsman under the Community Services (Complaints, Reviews and Monitoring) Act 1993 (‘the Act’).

  • The NSW Child Death Review Team (CDRT) is established under Part 5A of the Act. The CDRT reviews the deaths of all children aged from birth to 17 years. The NSW Ombudsman is Convenor of the CDRT, and Ombudsman staff provide administration and support to the Team, including research and reviews.
  • Separately, and under Part 6 of the Act, the Ombudsman is responsible for reviewing the deaths of children aged from birth to 17 years who die as a result of abuse or neglect, or in suspicious circumstances, and children who die in care or in detention (‘reviewable deaths’).

What we do

The focus of both functions is to help prevent the deaths of children. The Act describes how we do this:

  • We maintain a register of child deaths and reviewable deaths in NSW. The register holds a range of information about each child who has died, including demographic and health data, and information about the cause and circumstances of death.
  • From the information held in the register, we identify trends and patterns in relation to child deaths. We report trends and other issues using de-identified, aggregate data in biennial reports to the NSW Parliament, and release the reports publicly.
  • We undertake research - either alone or with others -that aims to help prevent or reduce the likelihood of child deaths. We report our research to the NSW Parliament and release reports publicly.
  • We make recommendations as to legislation, policies, practices and services that can be implemented by government and non-government agencies and the community to prevent or reduce the likelihood of child deaths.

Who notifies deaths to the Ombudsman?

The NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages provides us with initial information about the deaths of children. We then seek records from relevant agencies in order to fulfil our functions.

Obligations on agencies and individuals to provide information

The Act gives the Ombudsman power to compel certain agencies and individuals to provide information for  the purposes of carrying out these functions. Sections 34K and 38 identify the persons whose duty it is to provide the CDRT or Ombudsman with ‘full and unrestricted access’ to records under that person’s control - or records that person could reasonably require from others - if we reasonably require the records to fulfil our functions. Persons identified  under these sections include:

  • The head, chief executive officer, senior executive or senior member of any Public Service agency, statutory body or local authority, and the Commissioner of Police.
  • A medical practitioner or health care professional who, or the head of a body which, delivers health services to children.
  • Other service providers (both government and non-government).

Any information provided to the CDRT under s 34K can be provided to the Ombudsman for any of the Ombudsman’s functions, including child death reviews. The Ombudsman may also provide information obtained under s 38 about the ‘reviewable death’ of a child to the CDRT.¹

Protections relating to information provided by agencies and individuals

Some records we seek may be subject to claims of legal professional privilege or confidentiality. These records are still required to be provided to the Ombudsman.² However, provision of these records under the Act will not waive any privilege or breach any obligation of confidentiality that may attach to the material.

If you would like more information about our work, and to access our reports.


  1. Section 34L (1) (v) and section 39 (1)
  2. Section 34K (3) and 38 (3). Records produced under s 38 of the Act also attract various protections as set out in section 40.

Contact us for more information

Our business hours are: Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm (Inquiries section closes at 4pm)

If you wish to visit us, we prefer you make an appointment. Please call us first to ensure your complaint is within our jurisdiction and our staff are available to see you.

Level 24, 580 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Email info@ombo.nsw.gov.au

General inquiries 02 9286 1000
Facsimile 02 9283 2911
Toll free (outside Sydney metro) 1800 451 524
National Relay Service 133 677

Telephone Interpreter Service (TIS) 131 450
We can arrange an interpreter through TIS or you can contact TIS yourself before speaking to us.

© State of New South Wales, July 2017
This publication is released under a Creative Commons license CC BY 4.0.

Publication metadata

ISBN 978-1-925569-42-1
Category Fact sheets
Publication Date 17 August 2017