At the beginning of 2015, a young boy, then aged approximately 9 years old, was
sexually abused in an Australian on-shore detention centre. Following this
incident, the family (a father and two sons) were moved to another state. The
two sons were placed in care. The father was placed in closed detention. The
family was extremely upset at being separated during this very difficult time.
There are no allegations of abuse against the father or detention centre staff.
The perpetrator of the sexual abuse was found guilty in a court.
Last week, the father was informed that his other son, then aged approximately 7
years old, recently reported that he too was abused. The son says this occurred
at the same time as his older brother was abused.
The father remains in detention after approximately 5 years. The sons, now aged
approximately 11 and 9, remain in care in a group home. They wish to be reunited. The Government-established Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA) has remitted a Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) decision for reconsideration by the DIBP, with the direction that “there are substantial grounds for believing that, as a necessary and foreseeable consequence of the referred applicants being removed from Australia to a receiving country, there is a real risk that each of the referred applicants will suffer significant harm.” ie. this family should be recognised as refugees.
In light of the most recent allegation of sexual abuse and the IAA direction, Human Rights for All requested the DIBP and the Minister of Immigration and Border Protection,
Minister Dutton, to release the father as soon as possible. No response has been received from the Department.
Included within the findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse being handed down today is a submission about the abuse suffered by this family. The fact that both of these children and their father are separated, and their father is still detained is unacceptable and a clear breach of their human rights. The mental health of both boys continues to deteriorate. They face another Christmas without their father, in a group home where they potentially remain at risk of further harm. The Australian Government and the DIBP have failed to respond in any meaningful way to multiple requests to alleviate this family’s suffering during the last three years.
Jane Salmon for Alison Battisson, Director Principal of Human Rights for All