Human Rights Lawyers have demanded that the Federal Government take immediate action to relieve the suffering of children in Australia’s immigration system, both locally and in Nauru.
The National Justice Project, a pro bono human rights law firm, today called on Peter Dutton, the Immigration Minister to protect the children under his care by immediately implementing the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse.
The Minister has the power to protect little children in his care and custody and he MUST do so.
The Australian Government has not implemented the child safe standards in the detention system nor does it require its guards in Australia and Nauru to comply with the national child safe standards.
The Department knows that victims of sexual abuse and assault in the immigration system need support but the Government do not provide appropriate therapeutic and other specialist and support services to the victims.
George Newhouse, the Principal Solicitor of the National Justice Project said today that “The Royal Commission has spoken. Does Peter Dutton have the decency to protect children in detention here and in Nauru and follow the Royal Commission’s lead?”
“It is scandalous that the Minister for Immigration continues to expose men women children to abuse and ongoing sexual assault, abuse and mental harm. That children are denied therapeutic care and that there is no independent monitoring or oversight of immigration detainees is a national disgrace.”
“This government remains responsible for the harm that is being done to children in detention in Australia and offshore in Nauru and the National Justice Project is working hard to get them appropriate care and to hold the government accountable for these atrocities.”
Extracts of the report can be found below …
The Child Protection Panel recommendations
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection should publicly report within
12 months on how it has implemented the Child Protection Panel’s recommendations.
Implementing the Child Safe Standards in immigration detention
a. The Australian Government should establish a mechanism to regularly audit the
implementation of the Child Safe Standards in immigration detention by staff,
contractors and agents of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
The outcomes of each audit should be publicly reported.
b. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection should contractually
require its service providers to comply with the Child Safe Standards identified
by the Royal Commission, as applied to immigration detention.
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse 49
Therapeutic support for victims in immigration detention
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection should identify the scope and nature
of the need for support services for victims in immigration detention. The Department
of Immigration and Border Protection should ensure that appropriate therapeutic and
other specialist and support services are funded to meet the identified needs of victims
in immigration detention and ensure they are linked to ongoing treatment when they
Training and supporting department and service provider staff
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection should designate appropriately
qualified child safety officers for each place in which children are detained. These officers
should assist and build the capacity of staff and service providers at the local level to
implement the Child Safe Standards.
Preventive monitoring and oversight
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection should implement an independent
visitors program in immigration detention.
State and territory governments
State and territory governments should require all institutions in their jurisdictions that engage
in child-related work to meet the Child Safe Standards identified by the Royal Commission at
Legislative requirements to comply with the Child Safe Standards should cover institutions
k. justice and detention services for children, including immigration detention facilitiesl.
Jane Salmon for George Newhouse Principal Solicitor, National Justice Project