Skip to main content

Commission Website: National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention

Click

here to return to the Submission Index

Submission to the National

Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention from

Catholic Commission for Justice

Development and Peace and the Western Young People’s Independent

Network


'DAMAGING

KIDS'

Children in Department

of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs’ Immigration

Detention Centres

“I saw an Afghani guy cut his own throat in my compound –

he was working with me in the kitchen that day, and after work, he went

outside and he cut himself up everywhere. It was really hard. Even the

officers started crying when this happened”. [17–year–old

asylum-seeker]

Executive

Summary

List

of Acronyms

Introduction

Testimony of Young People

Psychological

and Emotional Abuse of Children

Human

Rights Standards

Conclusion

Attachments


Executive

Summary

This report focuses

on the experiences of young people in immigration detention centres and

how they felt it affected them. It considers the human rights standards

that Australia has agreed to and how it is respecting them in regards

to children seeking asylum. The report assesses definitions of emotional

and psychological abuse of children under domestic child protection legislation

against disturbing official evidence of self-harm by children and adults

held in detention.

The report concludes

that widespread psychological and emotional abuse of children and young

people is occurring as a result of being incarcerated in Immigration Detention

Centres administered by the Department of Immigration, Multicultural and

Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA). The damage to children is profound and may

permanently impair their psychological development and wellbeing as adults.

The problem is systemic and is inherent in DIMIA's policy and practices,

which creates a culture of self-harm and psychological child abuse. Responsibility

for this human destruction and psychological child abuse lies not with

the people detained but with DIMIA.

The report provides

shocking new evidence towards the conclusion above, which indicates the

scale of self-harm in immigration detention centres – information

that DIMIA has been at pains to hide from the public. On 24 October 2001,

the CCJDP applied to DIMIA under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 for

statistical information on incidents of self-harm reportable under Immigration

Detention Standards. The following data was received from DIMIA as a result

of this FOI request:

In the eight months

between 1 March 2001 and 30 October 2001 there were 264 incidents of self-harm

reported in Australian Immigration Detention Centres. 238 males self-harmed

in this period and 26 females.

The rates of self-harm

are appallingly high for people in the 26-35-age range: 116 people in

eight months – 105 men and 11 women. They were followed by those

people entering their adulthood aged 20-25 years, of whom 103 had self-harmed

– 98 males and 5 females.

29 children and young

people up to the age of 20 were recorded as having self-harmed in ACM/DIMIA

facilities in eight months; a rate of 3.62 per month.

These statistics

do not record exposure to self-harm by other children and young people,

but the "collateral damage" to children from such exposure is

real.

Self-harm is endemic

in DIMIA's immigration detention centres. There is a pervasive culture

of serious self-harm among adults, which threatens all children in DIMIA's

detention facilities with significant risk of permanent damage to their

social, intellectual and emotional development. The rate of self-harm

amongst children is very high and totally unacceptable. Moreover rates

of self-harming amongst adults is so widespread and high, it can be said

that there is a culture of carnage in DIMIA institutions.

The best interests

of the children are not being followed by DIMIA, for if these criteria

were followed, given the scale of self-harm which DIMIA’s own records

show, any responsible organisation could not keep children in such dangerous

conditions. DIMIA is acting negligently in regards to children and many

of the adults held in its Immigration Detention Centres.

The purpose of DIMIA

is migration, not child protection, and its officers are generally ignorant

of child protection standards under domestic child protection legislation

and professionally ill equipped to make decisions about the welfare of

children who are detained.

There is a high probability

that DIMIA has further information on its records showing that its officers

have knowledge of the scale and degree of self-harm occurring in its facilities

and the damage this is causing to children. To continue to ignore and

hide such mistreatment of children in DIMIA institutions would be ethically

reprehensible and leaves the Commonwealth open to charges of negligence.

As it stands the Commonwealth may well face massive compensation claims

in the future from asylum seekers who are granted refugee status and sue

for damages arising from cases asserting DIMIA's negligence in regards

to failure to care for adults and failing to protect the best interests

of children.

The report includes

testimony of former child detainees, covering areas such as:

  • the conditions

    under which children are detained;

  • health, including

    mental health, development;

  • education; and
  • effects of detention

    centre culture on children and young people.

Some of the young

peoples' experiences in DIMIA's detention centres were:

“I said that I would kill myself because I saw people before

me try to hang themselves…”

“Some

people cut themselves with knives, or drank shampoo to kill themselves.

I told some of my friends to do that. Because we couldn’t live

in that condition...”

“Some

of the young people who has (sic) been in for a long time were also

depressed.”

“I saw

a small child hitting his head against the fence because he was so upset

– he had been there for ten months and was asking for his father.”

“I saw

an Afghani guy cut his own throat in my compound – he was working

with me in the kitchen that day, and after work, he went outside and

he cut himself up everywhere. It was really hard.

Even the officers started crying when this happened”.

The report considers

human rights obligations voluntarily undertaken by the Australian Government

in regards to children and concludes that Australia is violating three

United Nations Human Rights Conventions in regards to children, including

(dates of Australia's signature included):

1. The

Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990)- for which calls

for governments to abide by the best interests of the child and to only

detain them as a measure of last resort;

2. The

International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (1975)

– which prohibits arbitrarily detaining people including children;

and

3. Convention

Relating to the Status of Refugees (1954)- which prohibits

punishing people seeking asylum by virtue of the illegal nature of their

arrival.

Moreover, the Australian

Government is flouting three different sets of United Nations Standards,

which seek to protect children, including:

1. UNHCR

Revised Guidelines on Applicable Criteria relating to the Detention

of Asylum Seekers – which recommended children should

not be detained.

2. UNHCR

Guidelines on Policies and Procedures in dealing with Unaccompanied

Children Seeking Asylum - which recommends that children who

are unaccompanied should not be detained.

3. The

United Nations Standard Minimum rules for the Administration of Juvenile

Justice (The Beijing Rules) which set out standard of treatment

for juveniles which recommends alternatives to institutional detention.

Recommendations

1. The Australian

Parliament urgently convene a joint parliamentary inquiry into the scale

and impact of self-harm on detainees, the legal and financial compensation

implications for current and future governments and to recommend measures

to prevent such damage to human beings in DIMIA institutions and care

in the future.

2. The Australian Government move immediately to implement the standards

for the care of children contained in the following human rights conventions

it has signed and related UN Guidelines:

  • The Convention

    on the Rights of the Child - abide by the best interests of the child

    and use detention as a measure of last resort;

  • The International

    Convention on Civil and Political Rights – refrain from arbitrarily

    detaining children;

  • Convention Relating

    to the Status of Refugees – refrain from punishing children with

    detention by virtue of the illegal nature of their arrival;

  • UNHCR Revised

    Guidelines on Applicable Criteria relating to the Detention of Asylum

    Seekers – respect the provision that states that children should

    not be detained;

  • UNHCR Guidelines

    on Policies and Procedures in dealing with Unaccompanied Children Seeking

    Asylum - which recommends that children who are unaccompanied should

    not be detained; and

  • The United Nations

    Standard Minimum rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (The

    Beijing Rules) which recommends “alternatives to institutionalisation

    to the maximum extent possible, bearing in mind the need to respond

    the specific requirements of the young.”

3. A humane system

of reception is adopted where people are held temporarily for a specific

period not exceeding 28 days with adults and seven days with children

and their primary carers while health, identity and security checks are

made.

4. Once the needs

of the State to assess health, identity and security risk have been met,

then the Australian Government adhere to UN human rights standards it

has signed, and move quickly to release children and their carers from

detention into the full care of the community (where thousands of other

asylum seekers already reside) with appropriate support.

5. Support for minors

with their families to live in the community could be provided by an expanded

Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme managed by the Australian Red Cross that

already provides income support and Medicare benefits to thousands. This

support should be available for the duration of the assessment of people's

claims and relevant appeals within the Immigration determination system.

The Australian Government should expand funding for this program accordingly.

6. In the case of

unaccompanied minors, the State Governments receive increased funding

from the Commonwealth to expand increased case management, psycho-social

and trauma counselling, income support and education, health and work

entitlements.

7. DIMIA staff, subcontracted

service providers in immigration detention centres, as well as the Minister

for Immigration's ministerial staff, should urgently receive training

about:

  • Australia's human

    rights obligations and relevant UN Guidelines and standards on detention

    of asylum seekers, in particular for children, juveniles, and unaccompanied

    minors; and

  • definitions of

    child abuse – such as psychological and emotional abuse, under

    domestic child protection legislation and appropriate actions to prevent

    such abuse occurring.

8. Australian MPs

and Senators desist from using terms such as 'illegals', 'queue jumpers',

'forum shoppers' etc and the pejorative notions associated with these

negative labels which hide the fact that it is human beings – children,

parents, brothers, fathers, sons, daughters and mothers, many of who have

fled grave persecution, that Australia is mistreating and causing to self-harm

in its Immigration Detention Centres.


List of

Acronyms

ACM Australasian

Correctional Management

ACS Australian Correctional

Services (a subsidiary of Australasian Correctional Management)

DIMIA Department

of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs

IAAAS Immigration

Advice and Application Assistance Scheme

ICCPR International

Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

IDC Immigration Detention

Centres

IDS Immigration Detention

Standards

JAS ‘Justice

for Asylum Seekers’

UAMs Unaccompanied

Minors

UNHCR United Nations

High Commissioner for Refugees

Introduction

The Western Young

People's Independent Network (WYPIN) and the Catholic Commission for Justice

Development and Peace (CCJDP) Melbourne have prepared this report as a

submission to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC)

'National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention'. The report's

launch coincides with the arrival in Australia, in late May 2002, of the

United Nation's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the UN Human

Rights Commissioner, Mary Robinson's special envoy to investigate conditions

in Australian Immigration Detention Centres.

As of 1 February

2002, the total number of women and children in mainland Australian Immigration

Detention Centres was 637. This number comprised of 259 adult women, 224

male children, 141 female children. As at 1 February 2002, there were

13 unaccompanied minors (UAMs) in detention. [1] 1147

children and minors were held in detention in 2000. [2]

Mandatory detention of children and their families arriving by boat in

Australia is routine, contrasting with those who arrive by plane and subsequently

claim asylum, who largely remain living within the Australian community.

WYPIN is a youth

service targeting refugee and migrant young people living in the Western

region of Melbourne. WYPIN was established in 1989 by a group of young

people who were interested in challenging racism in the community and

empowering young people to develop programs and activities in line with

their needs and aspirations. WYPIN’s Committee of Management is

made up of young people.

WYPIN's main focus

is as an advocate and voice for young people of refugee and migrant backgrounds

in the Western region. WYPIN runs programs that focus on the educational

and recreational needs of young people as well as focusing on anti-racism

education and settlement issues. WYPIN is well known for using drama and

performance with young people as a community education tool and working

with young people to explore issues around race and ethnicity though drama.

WYPIN supports young

people around a range of settlement issues, including access to education,

employment and recreational services. WYPIN works with young people to

assist them to feel connected to their new community as well as encouraging

them to develop and explore their identity.

WYPIN is seen as

a critical youth voice on refugee issues in the Western region of Melbourne.

As a refugee youth specific service provider WYPIN is particularly aware

of the specific settlement and psychological needs of young refugees.

Based on WYPIN's experience, it is considered that the first 6 months

after arrival in Australia are critical to a young person's settlement

and development. The young people, who have often escaped war-torn countries

and harsh regimes, witnessed or themselves experienced torture and trauma,

require support to deal with these issues, not uncertain periods of incarceration.

The Catholic Commission for Justice Development and Peace Melbourne (CCJDP)

aims to help educate and give leadership to the Catholic and wider community

in the gospel message of justice and in the social teachings of the Church.

The Commission's Charter requires it to work for justice in public, local

and national structures. It seeks to achieve these ends through research,

analysis, working with parish networks, public forums, in schools and

in the media. It actively seeks to explore ways that social justice can

be improved in society and in the performance of mechanisms that have

a role in public life. The CCJDP has raised the issue of violations of

human rights of asylum seekers in a variety of fora including the media,

the lobbying of parliamentarians and producing documents. The CCJDP monitors

development regarding the human rights of asylum seekers via the Australian

Human Rights Register. The CCJDP published a special Refugee Edition of

the Register in December 2001, which documented entries from Non-government

Organisations around Australia.

In addition to the

promotion of and respect for universal human rights and standards that

will be referred to throughout this submission, the CCJDP uses the principles

of Catholic social teaching to test the justness of public policy. [3]

Pope John Paul II has voiced his concern about States having “contempt

for the fundamental human rights of so many people, especially children…”.

[4]

Additionally, the

Church has clear positions on the rights of asylum seekers. Pope John

Paul II points out that refugees however they might arrive in a country

– illegally or not - still have their human rights:

His irregular

legal status cannot allow the migrant to lose his dignity, since he

is endowed with inalienable rights, which cannot be violated nor ignored.

[5]

Moreover, the Catholic

Church does not endorse sweeping State powers to detain all asylum seekers.

The ‘Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant

People’ warned that:

A person applying

for asylum should not be interned unless it can be demonstrated that

he or she represents a real danger, or there are compelling reasons

to think that he or she will not report to the competent authorities

for due examination of his of her case. Moreover such people should

be helped with access to work and to a just and rapid legal procedure.

[6]

Finally, in its Statement of March 22, 2002, the Australian Catholic Bishops’

Conference expressed concern about the detention of asylum seekers and

minors by the Australian Government:

Mandatory detention

is itself a matter for concern: alone among the nations, Australia excludes

any discretion being exercised as to whether, in particular cases, detention

may be inappropriate or should be abbreviated…. Many asylum seekers,

including whole families, have been detained for more than a year. The

Church’s pastoral care of asylum seekers convinces us that detention,

beyond the minimum time necessary for carrying out security and health

checks, identity checks and the lodgment for Protection Visas, is deeply

destructive of human dignity. This is particularly true of children.

[7]

The Interviews

WYPIN and CCJDP conducted interviews on 4 April 2002 with four minors

who had experienced periods of detention in Australian immigration detention

centres in 2000-2002. WYPIN and CCJDP were concerned that the minors understood

the purpose of the HREOC Inquiry and why they were being asked to voluntarily

participate in providing testimony. The participants all consented to

having their testimony used for the purposes of the ‘National Inquiry

into Children Held in Detention’. In addition to initial discussions

with the minors via phone, inviting them to participate on a voluntary

basis, time was spent in a group discussing the aims and nature of the

Inquiry and issues of confidentiality. While not all of the four wished

to remain anonymous, WYPIN and CCJDP have maintained the anonymity of

the interviewees and refer to them by letters eg. 'A' etc. To further

protect the identity of the interviewees, WYPIN and CCJDP will not refer

to the exact dates of their detention (the length of period of detention

will be described).

This report is also

seen as a critical opportunity for minors who have been in detention to

voice their experience and be heard. The young minor participants expressed

a strong wish for their experience to be heard and documented so that

other young people would not have to suffer like them. The interview process

was also part of a cathartic and healing experience for the minors to

be heard and validated.

In preparing this submission, WYPIN and CCJDP have attempted to adhere

to the standards contained in the United Nations High Commissioner for

Refugees (UNHCR), February 1997 Guidelines on Policies and Procedures

in Dealing with Unaccompanied Children Seeking Asylum, which states:

Unaccompanied

children have often had little or no choice in the decisions that led

to their predicament and vulnerability. Irrespective of their immigration

status, they have special needs that must be met.

WYPIN and CCJDP hope

that the information contained in this submission will assist the Australian

Parliament in reforming the Australian Immigration Detention System by

introducing standards, such as the one above, which have hitherto been

lacking in many areas in regard to children seeking asylum in Australia.

In addition to the

testimony provided, there are three additional accounts of abuse of children

in DIMIA facilities which were first aired in the publication Migration

Action, in October/December 2000. [8] These reports raise

disturbing questions about the mode of operation of Australasian Correctional

Management (ACM). The allegations have not been independently investigated.

AGE

The testimony provided in this submission comes from minors aged 15-18

(all were under 18 when in detention).

  • Interviewee 1.

    ‘B’ was born in 1985 and was held in detention for six months

    at Woomera Immigration Detention Centre (IDC).

  • Interviewee 2.

    'A' was born in 1986. He was held in Curtin IDC for three months

  • Interviewee 3.

    'M' was born in 1984. He was held in Woomera IDC for 4 months.

  • Interviewee 4.

    'N' was born in 1984 and was held in Curtin IDC for 4 months.

Reports suggest that

senior DIMIA Officers in Canberra and staff within the Minister of Immigration's

office have a low regard for the human rights of adolescents held in Australian

immigration detention centres. This is on the basis that they are no longer

children, have come from war-torn countries where people allegedly 'grow

up more quickly' or already may be performing adult roles in such societies

in areas of marriage, work or combat. [9]

This line of thinking

implies that such adolescents are not going to have the same needs as

their Australian peers or the younger children in DIMIA's centres. Such

thinking flies in the face of the understanding of the UNHCR which notes

that 18 years is the common and internationally accepted legal defining

line and that for practical reasons, adolescents still have the rights

of children. Adolescents may have adult bodies and fulfil some adult roles

but their emotional maturity, judgement and social status are not the

same as that of adults with life experience. The UNHCR argues adolescents

need 'special care and assistance' while they are 'developing their identities

and learning essential skills'. [10] For the purposes

of this submission, in accordance with UNHCR practice and opinion, adolescents

are considered children and the standards of the Convention on the Rights

of the Child (CROC) apply.

Testimony

This section focuses

on the experiences of young people in detention and how they felt it affected

them. It considers:

  • the conditions

    under which children are detained;

  • health, including

    mental health, development;

  • education; and
  • security practices

    in detention.

i) Minors'

Experience of Detention

Minors clearly felt that detention was not a good place for them. Their

experience of it was of being imprisoned. They further indicated that

detention periods should be short and that ongoing detention was problematic

for people's sense of wellbeing.

'M' reported that

when he arrived at Woomera he realised he was being detained. “First

when I got there, it looked like a gaol. First it was normal. But then

I got to know people who had been there for two and half years, and I

worried that I could be held there for that long”.

'A' expressed similar

concerns, “Some of the young people who had been in for a long time

were also depressed…it’s OK to be in detention centres for

one or two months, but after then, everyone wants to go, they want to

get out.”

'N' reinforced this,

“It’s good for people to be in a detention centre for a short

time… everyone wants to get out as soon as they can from detention.”

‘B’,

after spending six months in Woomera Immigration Detention Centre, wanted

to send this message to Australians:

We don’t

want this life in prison. If we wanted to be in prison, we would stay

in our own countries. We want a life here, schooling. We don't want

to be in a prison in the middle of the desert.

The location in the

desert compounded for ‘B’ the sense of being unheard and abandoned.

He saw this isolation as the reason that the protests against these conditions

were not understood in the wider Australian community:

On TV they

show all the fires and people trying to escape the detention centre,

but they don't show why. On the news they say we are uncivilized. But

what can we do? In the desert who can hear us?

In addition to the

psychological sense of abandonment, ‘B’ found the desert environment

harsh and the physical impact tough with temperatures reaching up to 50

degrees, he believed. This made the rooms very hot as the bricks warmed

up.

ii) Amenities

The Minister for Immigration makes much of the level of amenities available

to people held in immigration detention centres. DIMIA's website proclaims:

Suitable accommodation

for family units and children are made available where possible and

recreational facilities including playgrounds, toys and games are provided.

[11]

So how do children

experience Australia's immigration detention centres? The minors noted

that after the initial period of arriving and settling into detention

centres, the allure of such facilities paled against the reality of continuing

detention and separation from loved ones. In general, minors had no major

complaints about the level of amenities: it was the culture of Australasian

Correctional Management (ACM)/Department of Immigration, Multicultural

& Indigenous Affairs’ (DIMIA) centres that they had strong feelings

about.

‘B’ said

that there were public bathrooms for everyone at Woomera Immigration Detention

Centre (IDC) however, “The water wasn't fresh, we would see insects

in the food.” There were nine people in one room, he said. “In

my donga, there were just two people in each room as it was for people

under 18.” He observed that while accommodation was "OK",

there was a larger institutional imperative of controlling people which

was not lost on him and was seen in a punitive light:

They kept the

people separately, and when you make problems, you are sent to another

compound. Like Oscar [compound], that's where they send people who make

trouble.

A sense of being

transient and homeless was reinforced by the institutional nature of the

immigration detention centres - 'N' reported that he was moved three times

at Curtin in three and half months. So too, was ‘B’ who reported

that,

After your

first interview, you are moved to a new compound, so that you can't

tell the people in your compound who hadn't had an interview what happens.

I was moved three times while I was in Woomera. The same thing happens

after your second interview with a lawyer – you are moved.

'A' who was held

at Curtin IDC said that the food was “OK and enough” and there

was a place to play football, basketball, soccer, and table tennis. He

noted that Curtin lacked a specific prayer room so people had to “pray

the Jummah outside. But you could pray in your room if you liked.”

Having acknowledged the amenities 'A' combined these two observations,

which reveals the reality for young people:

There were

sports for young people, and videos and computers. I was very happy

in the camp. They made the young people happy – they looked after

them [then he observes] There were people cutting their wrists –

they had been held there a year. I would do that too if I was there

for a year. It was OK for me, ‘cause I was there for only a few

months, and they used to take the young people out to go swimming. But

only the young people…

The damaging environment

of prolonged detention and consequent self-harm on people negates that

provision of material amenities. 'A' found that “In the beginning

I would play with other people in the detention centre, but I stopped

because I was thinking of my family – I was feeling sad.”

'M'’s experience

reinforces the view that ongoing detention quickly leads to depression,

“I would just sleep all the time. You can play sport, but you get

bored quickly. I asked for many things, like gym equipment, which they

promised to bring but never did.” 'A' attempted to resolve his depression

by working in the kitchen:

I would work in the kitchen for 12 hours every day and was paid $1 a day.

They (ACM) asked me to work. Cooking, cleaning, washing. Other people

worked there too. [Identifying details removed].

Employing someone

under the age of 18 in the kitchen for 12 hours at a rate of $1 per day

is a violation of children's rights, being exploitation of their labour.

This could allow a company like ACM to save on staff wages and keep their

overheads down.

iii) Health

The minors’ opinions about medical services varied depending on

the detention centre - one considered Woomera particularly bad. 'M' had

a difficult time when he was sick with a skin 'disease' [possibly a psychological

reaction to stress] and the ACM officers would not take him to see a doctor.

It took two to three weeks before they brought him to a doctor and only

after he had a written a letter stating he “did not want to live.”

'N' however had a

different experience at Curtin – when he was sick, a nurse came

at once.

‘B’ believed

there was not good medical treatment at Woomera IDC if you got sick. People

were susceptible to sore throats and flu he noticed. People had to wait

at Woomera to see a nurse: “It took one week until I could see a

doctor. If you want to see someone faster, you can only see a nurse.”

He also revealed "some people had broken arms, but they [ACM] wouldn't

send them to a doctor, they just bandaged their arms.” These were

people who had self-harmed by slashing their wrists.

‘B’ had a good opinion of the psychologist whom he had reason

to use on many occasions:

The psychologist

was very merciful to me [sic]…I asked to help me out of humanity

not because of his job. So he rang my case officer and he said that I

had my visa [approved by DIMIA] two months ago, but ASIO still hasn’t

(sic) processed my application.

 

iv) Education

The human right to education was not emphasised very much, perhaps because

it did not feature prominently in the lives of the minors who experienced

detention in ACM/DIMIA Centres. A picture of minimal classes with students

barely engaged emerges - a lackadaisical affair due to the detention environment,

which militates against classroom education. 'N' reported that he went

to class every day at Curtin, where there were 20 other children learning.

However, after a while, “I did nothing all day in the detention

centre. We had two hours of classes each morning, and they gave us books

on homework.”

'N'’s testimony

corroborates the views of the Western Australian Inspector of Custodial

Services, Professor Richard Harding, who recounted his visit to Curtin

on 25 June 2001 in a speech last year where he described education as

a 'charade'. Professor Harding said:

ACS/DIMA [Australian

Correctional Services – a subsidiary of ACM, and the Department

of Immigration etc] had been very anxious that one should arrive progress.

A glossy brochure indicated that children were receiving five hours’

before 9.00am so as to be able to see the Centre’s education classes

in daily education in four different groups. In reality, they were receiving

one hour’s education. Teaching took place between 9.00am and 10.am;

thereafter, the children stayed in the teaching area until 11.00am during

which time some contact with teachers might occur; then there was a

lunch break until 1.00pm; and after that so-called ‘homework’,

if the children felt like doing it. The so-called ‘education program’

was largely a charade though doubtless five hours’ full education

was being paid for and signed for and signed off by the Canberra based

‘monitors’. [12]

The ACM and DIMIA

schooling program at the Curtin IDC centre is being replicated at Woomera

IDC. ‘B’ explained further that at Woomera IDC there was “only

a school for language”, one hour a day for those under 18 years

old. The education programs at Curtin and Woomera IDCs seem to be Australia's

21-century equivalents of Dickens’ Dotheboy’s Hall in 'Nicholas

Nickleby', with as much pedagogical integrity as the classes of Dickens'

school principal, Squeers.

Moreover, ‘B’

found that being detained interfered with his ability to study:

I chose not to go to school each day, because your mind cannot concentrate

– my mind is on my family and what I'd see happen to people in the

detention centres.

What exactly are

minors seeing at detention centres that might distract them from the ACM

and DIMIA's educational offerings?

v) ACM Security

and its Effects on Minors

The effect on minors of being detained and becoming the subjects of security

works on several levels. Firstly, it operates on the level of interpersonal

relationships between the minors and the institution’s officers

– the ACM guards. Secondly, there are the effects of detention on

adults and the flow-on effect that can have on children and minors. And

finally, there are the wider institutional relationships with minors as

'detainees'.

The minors had different

views about the guards. 'A' thought that the officers at Curtin were good.

“If you need something, you just asked them and they would go and

get it for you.” ‘A' reveals why he might have no reason to

complain, however “I didn't have any problems with the guards while

I was in gaol” [authors’ emphasis]. His sense

that he was being imprisoned is clear and the fact that ACM guards seemed

friendly and obliged with small requests must indeed have been reassuring.

Later 'A' revealed, “I didn't want to make trouble”.

The relationships

at Woomera IDC between minors and ACM guards seem more problematic with

alleged behaviour spanning verbal put-downs and intimidation to physical

abuse by guards. Minors acknowledged that guards were people and represented

a variety of personalities – some who acted well towards them and

some who did not.

‘B’ thought

that some of the ACM officers were “very good and nice”, but

others would disparage the minors and other asylum seekers by stating

that “you came here illegally.” The minors felt such put-downs

keenly; again ‘B’ went to the ACM office with a request but

was brusquely shouted at to “go away”. ‘B’ continued:

I said to

her, this is not the right way to deal with us. You could say “Sorry

the office is closed, or come back before five o’clock?”

And she said “You come here illegally to this country and then

you answer back to me?” She said this to me after I leave my family,

after they sold all their things, their stock, and their cows, to protect

me.

‘B’ reported

that he was called both by his name by the guards and by number at times.

'M' imparted a sense

of arbitrary behaviour of guards –“One day they be smiling

at you, the next day they would be hitting you”. He continued, “Some

of the officers threatened [us] like animals. They would just say 'go

away' and not do anything from them unless we would say please.”

He added, “You need to do things to get the officers' attention,

like try to kill yourself…”

This unpredictability

was deeply upsetting for 'M' who was told by a guard to go to sleep one

night. “I told him I wasn't tired, so he slapped me. If I had a

knife, I would have killed him. My own father had never hit me. I wanted

to attack him back.”

Such intense feeling

is normal in an adolescent but what is abnormal is the institutional context

that gives rise to such interactions between juveniles and guards. The

United Nations Standard Minimum rules for the Administration of Juvenile

Justice (The Beijing Rules) are relevant in considering the institutional

effects of Australian detention policies on minors. [13]

The Beijing Rules distil the collective wisdom of many nations in dealing

with juveniles in institutions and find that:

The many adverse

influences on an individual that seem unavoidable within any institutional

setting evidently cannot be outbalanced by treatment efforts. This is

especially the case for juveniles, who are vulnerable to negative influences.

Moreover, the negative effects, not only of loss of liberty but also

of separation from the usual social environment, are certainly more

acute for juveniles than for adults because of their early stages of

development.

The propaganda disseminated

by the Government around 'illegal' immigration could adversely influence

the treatment of asylum-seekers by ACM guards. Currently such information

is not being countered by adequate education of personnel in sub-contracted

services for detention centres. This is in regard to both Australia’s

human rights obligations (that is Article 31 of the 1951 Convention relating

to the Status of refugees that prohibits the punishment of refugees for

entry), and in the management of minors and juveniles, as recommended

in the Beijing Rules. These state in Rule 22.1:

Professional

education, in-service training, refresher courses and other appropriate

modes of instruction shall be utilised to establish and maintain the

necessary professional competence of all personnel dealing with juvenile

cases.

Currently DIMIA,

ACM and other sub-contracted service providers display high levels of

ignorance about UN standards for treatment of asylum seekers and in particular

juveniles and children. Professor Harding, the Western Australian Inspector

of Custodial Services, has observed, “DIMIA is not in reality an

agency that is concerned with accountability; it is in effect an operation

agency”. [14]

More problematic

again are the adverse psychological effects on minors of interacting with

depressed and anxious adult asylum seekers, particularly those who have

been detained by the Australian Government for periods of a year or more.

What did the minors observe and feel during their stay in the ACM/DIMIA

Immigration Detention system?

vi)

Self-harm in ACM/DIMIA Detention Centres and its Effects on Minors

The Department takes its duty of care towards all detainees, especially

women and children, very seriously.

DIMIA Website 2002 [15]

When 'A' arrived

at Curtin, he was surprised at the aberrant behaviour of people:

The people

who had been in the detention centre were making trouble every day,

every week. They’d cut themselves, or jump out of buildings, or

be rude to the officers. I had never seen that sort of behaviour before…

The levels of depression

and frustration within immigration detention centres are high and disturbances

are regular, if not endemic. Professor Harding considers that

The conditions

that exist at Curtin Centre are almost intolerable. It is no coincidence

that riots do occur in a system that lacks accountability. Riots occur

for a reason; they are seldom mindless or the work of ‘rabble-rousers’.

Anyone who knows the simplest thing about prison riots knows also that

unacceptable conditions against which there is no recourse, and thus

in relations to which there is a profound sense of inequitable treatment,

are the precursor to riots. [16]

'A' observed upon

his arrival at Curtin, “Some people seemed depressed, or sick.”

He reported with adolescent nonchalance, that, at Curtin: “There

were people cutting their wrists, but I didn't care about that. It's up

to you if you want to cut yourself.”

'A' recognised that this self-harm was a result of desperation arising

from the arbitrary nature of the periods of time people could spend in

Australian detention: “I could understand why they were cutting

themselves – they had been there for a year.” 'A' felt his

own coping mechanisms would be exhausted if he was held for a prolonged

period: “I would do that too [cut oneself] if I was held there for

a year.”

'M' revealed that

at Woomera IDC:

I also saw

people sew their lips - a friend of mine did this because he was there

for two years, and they kept asking him to wait for his visa. In the

end he asked to be sent back to Iran.

'A' observed the

psychological damage this was causing other children: “Some of the

young people who has been in for a long time were also depressed.”

'M' said that at

Woomera IDC:

I saw a small

child hitting his head against the fence because he was so upset –

he had been there for ten months and was asking for his father.

'M' recounts that

the frustration of detainees would spill over into rioting and self-harm:

At the camp they would start to burn things. I saw an Afghani guy

cut his own throat in my compound – he was working with me in

the kitchen that day, and after work, he went outside and he cut himself

up everywhere. It was really hard. Even the officers started crying

when this happened.

‘B’ paints

a grim picture of the Woomera IDC and the effect that witnessing adult

self-harm had on himself and his peers:

Some people

cut themselves with knives, or drank shampoo to kill themselves. I told

some of my friends to do that. Because we couldn’t live in that

condition.

‘B’ also

developed the following understanding of the different ACM responses to

his psychological needs:

Sometimes I’d

go to the psychologist, and tell them I was remembering my family, and

he would always agree with me, and suggested that I didn’t remember

my family as much. If you asked the officer to see the psychologist,

they would say it would take seven days. But if you attacked the office

by throwing stones, or by cutting yourself, they would take you straight

away. But if you asked respectfully, they would take seven or ten days.

Inevitably, the minors

are affected by the culture of despair and self-harm surrounding them

and begin to form irrational desperate responses. ‘B’ manifested

suicide ideation as a learnt behaviour arising from the observation of

others’ behaviour that engaging in self-harm is the best way to

achieve a positive response from those controlling one’s destiny.

In some senses, self-harm is a rational response to the irrational nature

of an inhumane system. ‘B’ told the psychologist: “I

said that I would kill myself because I saw people before try to hang

themselves and one week later they get visas [sic]. And told my friends

that if we’d done it [self-harm] in the first month [of their arrival]

we’d get visas.”

‘B’ recounts

how minors became involved in self-harming behaviour during a hunger strike

undertaken by a large group of people at the Woomera IDC:

When [we] arrived

at the detention centre it took 25 days for three interviews

[he is referring to interviews conducted by DIMIA and IAAAS], [and]

after one and half months some people got their first visa. There were

seven of us that were under 18. The people that arrived with us got

visas after two months, but the boys under 18 didn’t get a visa

after five months – four months after the third interview.

I told my friends

we had to do something so we wrote a letter to DIMIA saying we’ll

wait a week and if we don’t get a visa by then, we will kill ourselves

and you will be responsible for this. Seven Iraqis and 15-16 Afghanis

[signed]. No one from the under 18s got visas which is why we wrote

a letter to DIMIA.

So they sent

someone from DIMIA about one day after and they said that they were

still thinking about it. Two days later they sent someone for the

Human Rights [HREOC?] – they called me and two of my friends.

So I told them everything that is going on in the detention centre.

I told them

no parent would leave a child alone their age unless it was too dangerous

for them to stay in their own country.

We don’t

want this life in prison. If we wanted to be in prison we would stay

in our own countries. We want a life here– schooling. We don’t

want to be in prison in the middle of the desert.

We are not

responsible if we kill ourselves, but you are.

One day after

we told all this to the Human Rights Commission, (I spoke to them for

one hour) they sent someone from the South Australian Government.

Before we sent

the letter to DIMIA we had a hunger strike for five days, and then we

sent the letter.

We told them

that we would kill ourselves on Friday if they did not do something,

so on Tuesday and Thursday we got our visas.

It took five

months for them and they did nothing. So we wrote them this letter they

could suddenly let us out a few days later. Why?

vii) The

Impact of Detention.

The four minors interviewed for this submission manifested different legacies

from their experience within the government’s immigration detention

centres.

After enduring four

months at the Woomera IDC, 'M' was given no time to take in the news and

farewell people: “When my visa came I had one hour to leave. I couldn't

say goodbye to my friends. I saw them handcuffed on TV [during coverage

of a disturbance].” Despite his sudden departure, 'M' is suffering

a form of post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of Australian immigration

detention policy:

I have nightmares

about detention centres, and flashbacks that come all of a sudden, like

of that guy that slashed himself. I have flashback everyday. I think

of all the people at the detention centre – not just of the guy

who cut himself…. I get headaches now, thinking about family and

friends.

'N' was more simple

and succinct in his feelings displaying the frailty of a teenager thrust

into a situation out of his control: “It was hard in detention,

because I didn't know anyone. I came alone.”

‘B’,

who experienced hunger strikes, said “I want to use my name [for

the interview] because I lived in the conditions in the detention centre

and I am sad about the people in there…” He continued:

I am trying

to remember people in the detention centre because it is not right for

them to be there. I was very happy to be at the rally for refugees because

I felt that there were people who wanted to help me and agreed with

me. The people in detention centres are also human, they are children,

and they have feelings. I am trying to forget the detention centre,

but I try to remember the people.

All of the young

people, while loving the freedom which is the right of young people (‘A’

said, “It was good to get out of the detention centre. I have a

lot of friends now”), are finding it difficult living in the community

because of the range of burdens weighing upon them – their ordeals

in Australia’s immigration detention centres being just the most

recent.

Most were missing

their families terribly and feeling separation anxiety and guilt. 'A'

confessed, “Whenever I don't do anything, its impossible not to

think about my family. Everyone is like that. This is my first time away,

I miss my family.”

'N' found it impossible

to communicate with his family: “I haven’t had contact with

my family, “he lamented, “as they are not in the city. I've

tried to send letters to Pakistan in the hope that someone will take it

across the border.”

'M' could speak to

his family: “They tell me to finish my studies, be patient, every

day is a new day.” However after enduring six months in the Woomera

IDC, “I don't want to bring my family here any more because Australia

has been a sad experience…”

All of the minors

were on Temporary Protection Visas, and their feelings of insecurity and

uncertainty about their status lead to difficulties with settlement and

problems focussing on education. ‘N’ worried: “I want

to keep studying, but I don’t get enough money from Centrelink.

I’m finding it really hard to live with the small amount of money

I am given. I just don’t get enough money for all the expenses I

have. But I’d really like to keep studying.” Nevertheless,

the future was uncertain, “I don’t know what will happen to

me after three years.”

'M' also felt insecure:

I am not sure

about my future. I still have to wait three years for my visa –

I don't know what to do. I can't make any decisions because I don't

know what's going on with my visa, if [my country's situation] changes,

they [DIMIA] might send me back.

'M' believed that,

“The public don't know what is going on in the camp. They know nothing

about what is going on inside.” The humanity and empathy of the

young asylum seekers shines through in 'M's deep conviction that:

It’s not just

young people that shouldn’t be in the detention centres –

no one should be there. These people are escaping wars, trying to get

a better life and then they are placed in places like Woomera. It is unfair….

‘B’ didn't

want to talk about his current situation – he was still preoccupied

with the fate of people in detention: “The permanent visa [for himself]

isn't important for me as the people in the detention centre…for

five months we had no rights, no human rights, no children's rights…”

Psychological

and Emotional Abuse of Children

This Section examines

legal and psychosocial conceptions of what children are experiencing in

IDCs and who is responsible. It contains three reports with allegations

of abuse occurring in IDCs which were first aired in Migration Action

Journal in October/September 2000. It contains disturbing new data, obtained

from DIMIA, about the scale of self- harm in DIMIA’s institutions.

i) Defining

Abuse

Child abuse is where an act, or a failure to act, on the part of an adult,

endangers or impairs a child's physical or emotional health and development.

Abuse is not accidental but neither is it always the intention of the

person to inflict harm or injury. This may be the case where institutions

are responsible for the abusive policies or procedures that threaten,

or damage, the child’s development. The Victorian Children’s

and Young Person’s Act 1989 s.63, for example, defines abuse in

terms of ‘significant harm’, that is the effect of abusive

acts on the child. Types of abuse include:

  • Neglect,

    which is the failure to provide the child with the basic necessities

    of life such as food, clothing, shelter, medical attention or supervision,

    to the extent that the child's health and development is, or is likely

    to be significantly harmed.

  • Sexual

    abuse

  • Physical

    abuse

  • Emotional

    abuse,

    which occurs when the child's parent or care giver repeatedly rejects

    the child or uses threats to frighten the child. This may involve name-calling,

    put-downs, or continued coldness from the parent or the care giver to

    the extent that it significantly damages the child's physical, social,

    intellectual or emotional development.

Evidence:

There must be evidence of the child's need(s) not being met as a result

of a care giver or parent failing to exercise care. This is not, in the

first instance, a question of responsibility, but rather whether there

has been an act of omission in care, which has an impact on the child.

For instance, a parent may be prevented from exercising care as a result

of government policy: a child may attempt to self-harm, as a result of

being held in an Australian immigration detention centre in a culture

where self-harm is endemic.

Allegation

1. 'ACM staff terrorise youngster'

An [nationality removed] man 'Tahseen' arrived in Australia in 1999

with his [age removed] year old daughter 'Zenab'. They have since been

released from immigration detention.

On 4 June 2000,

prior to a 'break out' at Woomera IDC in early June, ‘Tahseen’,

who was considered to be a trouble maker because he was more vocal about

his human rights, was put into a separate prison at the centre. The

prison had separate cells and a central space.

Later, his

daughter was put in the cell with him, as she had no one to look after

her - her mother already being deceased. There were 25 people in the

prison, including 23 adult men, a male [age removed] child and ‘Zenab’.

When ACM placed the child with adult detainees in prison, they violated

the child's rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child that

the Australian Government brought into force in Australia in 1991.

The child was

held in the prison until 13 June 2000. On 8 June, while other detainees

had broken out of the centre, ACM guards came to the prison section

wielding sticks with the apparent intention of beating the prisoners.

‘Zenab’ became uncontrollably upset. Throughout her period

in the internal prison, and since then, she has suffered from terrible

nightmares and anxiety attacks. Since her release she continues to bed-wet

and wet herself during the daytime. She did not have these difficulties

before. Although clinic staff saw her, her father complains she received

no treatment at all. A medical discharge card given to her upon release

from detention puts her condition down to participation in the 'breakout'

however she was behind bars for nine days during the 'breakout'.

Types of Evidence

The evidence required to make a notification of child abuse occurring

in Victoria, for example, includes:

Emotional

Abuse:

  • Displaying low

    self esteem

  • Tending to be

    withdrawn, passive, tearful

  • Displaying aggressive

    or demanding behaviour

  • Being highly anxious
  • Showing delayed

    speech

  • Acting like a

    much younger child - eg soiling, wetting pants

  • Displaying difficulties

    in relating to adults and peers

Neglect:

  • A child is not

    being adequately housed, constantly moving, or denied housing

  • Medical needs

    not being attended to.

  • Inappropriate

    clothing eg. summer clothes in winter

  • Poor hygiene
  • Malnutrition
  • Frequent hunger
  • Left unsupervised

    for long periods of time

 

Some of the minors

spoke about their experience in DIMIA's detention centres.

“I said that I would kill myself because I saw people before

me try to hang themselves…”

“Some

people cut themselves with knives, or drank shampoo to kill themselves.

I told some of my friends to do that. Because we couldn’t live

in that condition...”

“Some

of the young people who has been in for a long time were also depressed.”

“I saw

a small child hitting his head against the fence because he was so upset

– he had been there for ten months and was asking for his father.”

“I saw

an Afghani guy cut his own throat in my compound – he was working

with me in the kitchen that day, and after work, he went outside and

he cut himself up everywhere. It was really hard. Even the officers

started crying when this happened”.

ii) Scale

of Self-harm in ACM/DIMIA Detention Centres

Under the General Agreement between the Commonwealth of Australia and

Australasian Correctional Services Pty Ltd (clause 4.3), ACM is required

to "provide reports in the medium which allows the Commonwealth to

access the information in the manner that best fulfils the requirements

of the Immigration Detention Standards…" [17]

. On 24 October 2001, CCJDP applied to DIMIA under the Freedom of Information

Act 1982 for statistical information on incidents of self-harm between

1 October 2000 and 31 October 2001 reportable under Immigration Detention

Standards [the request is contained in the appendices]. Subsequent discussions

with DIMIA in February 2002 revealed that the cost of providing the level

of detail requested by CCJDP would run into tend of thousands of dollars.

This was prohibitive and a disincentive to pursuing the original request

so we agreed to DIMIA's suggestion that we receive statistics without

much of the requested detail such as nature of self-harm and ACM/DIMIA's

response. Data was received from DIMIA on 23 April 2002 showing incidents

of self-harm from 1 March 2001 – 30 October 2001 and is attached

in the appendices.

In the eight months

between 1 March 2001 and 30 October 2001 there were 264 incidents of self-harm

reported in Australian Immigration Detention Centres. 238 males self-harmed

in this period and 26 females. Suggestions made by some observers, that

despairing people self harm in detention centres on a daily basis are

true.

The rates of self-harm

are appallingly high for people in the 26-35-age range: 116 people self-harmed

in eight months – 105 men and 11 women.

They were followed

by those people entering their adulthood aged 20-25 years, of whom 103

had self-harmed – 98 males and 5 females.

Immediately, we begin

to understand why adolescents - particularly males - might be depressed

and begin to manifest suicide ideation, influenced by their older friends

and acquaintances among the incarcerated. The Table below shows that 29

children and young people up to the age of 20 were recorded as having

self-harmed in ACM/DIMIA facilities in eight months; a rate of 3.62 per

month. These statistics do not record exposure to self-harm by other children

and young people, but the "collateral damage" to children from

such exposure is real.

Minors and

young adults self - harming in DIMIA's Immigration Detention Centres

March 2001 - October 2001

29 self-harmed in the 8-month period above: 22 males and 7 females:

  • 2 children 0-2

    years old had participated in a hunger strike

  • 3 children 3-5

    years old had participated in a hunger strike

  • 1 child 3-5 had

    'voluntarily starved’ himself

  • 2 children 5-8

    had participated in a hunger strike

  • 2 children 9-12

    had participated in a 'voluntary starvation'

  • 8 children 13-16

    had self-harmed – 5 had 'voluntarily starved'

  • 2 minors, aged

    17 years, had self-harmed

Additionally, 9 young

adults 18-20 had self-harmed:

  • 7 males and 2

    females of whom 3 had 'voluntarily starved'

N.B See

comments below about 'hunger strikes' and 'voluntary starvation'

Source: DIMIA April 2002.

For the purposes of this data, self-harming includes 'voluntary starvation'

and hunger strikes. CCJDP has requested further clarification about these

terms and others from DIMIA on 23 April 2002, and is still waiting for

a reply. There is some variation to terms used in the DIMIA statistics

and until DIMIA provide some further clarification on these terms, we

rely on the opinion of former ACM staff members at Woomera IDC that these

variations are due to slightly different terms being used by individual

ACM employees when making notifications of self-harm rather than different

categories per se.

The views of former

Woomera health workers, who spoke to CCJDP on condition of anonymity,

is that the recording of children's participation in hunger strikes and

as 'voluntary starvation' is not due to allegedly manipulative parents

forcing their children not to eat, but rather refers to children profoundly

affected by the severe depression and psychological trauma of their parents

and other adults, and who withdraw from eating as one form of manifesting

their own severe stress and trauma. [18]

The issue to be considered is whether any children and their parents should

be held at all in an environment where such severe psychological stress

in the norm.

Professor Patrick McGorry, Director of the Department of Psychiatry, University

of Melbourne Youth Program, argues that a recent study showed that detained

asylum seekers had experienced twice the level of war trauma exposure

of those asylum seekers in the community. [19] Over

70% had been tortured and 90% experienced severe trauma. He found that

"Those who had suffered the most serve persecution are perversely

at most risk of detention in Australia. This is not really surprising

because these are the people most desperate to leave and hence the most

likely to enter 'illegally'". [20]

DIMIA asserts that:

The Department

is committed to ensuring that children held in immigration detention

receive appropriate care. A permanent working party of senior departmental

officers meets on a fortnightly basis to review of all detention cases

and, in particular, cases of concern such as children. [21]

DIMIA has an agreed

set of standards [immigration Detention Standards – [IDS] with ACM

for treatment of people. DIMIA's website proclaims:

The IDS outline

the quality of life expected in the centres and take into consideration

individual needs such as the gender, culture and age of the detainees.

Emphasis is

placed on the sensitive treatment of the detention population which

may include torture and trauma sufferers, family groups, children, the

elderly, people with a fear of authority, and those who are seeking

to engage Australia's protection obligations under the Refugee Convention

[22]

Professor McGorry

disagrees:

Clinical and

research evidence clearly shows that detention is psychologically harmful

to traumatised refugees exposed to it. The recovery environment after

trauma is critical to recovery and the ambient stress and trauma of

the detention environment is not only nontherapeutic but frankly toxic.

Medical and psychiatric care in these environments is substandard. [23]

The CCJDP FOI data

obtained from DIMIA, showing endemic self-harm, demonstrates that these

ACM/DIMIA standards are meaningless in practice in DIMIA's detention centres.

There is a culture of human carnage under DIMIA management. There is a

pervasive culture of serious self-harm among adults, which threatens all

children in DIMIA's detention facilities with significant risk of permanent

damage to their social, intellectual and emotional development. The rate

of self-harm amongst children is very high and totally unacceptable.

iii) Child

Protection

The recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by DIMIA and the former

South Australian Liberal Government in December 2001, reveals that DIMIA

is responsible for all children in its detention centres. South Australia's

Family and Youth Services (FAYS) Department does not have ultimate responsibility

for responding to abuse of children and there are clear limits to State

power to protect the best interests of the child:

4.1 DIMA maintains

the ultimate duty of care for all immigration detainees. That is, the

ultimate responsibility for the welfare of unlawful non-citizens in

immigration detention remains with DIMA. The day to day operations of

detention services have been contracted out by DIMA to a private detention

services provider.

4.2 FAYS has a

legal responsibility to investigate child protection concerns for children

in immigration detention in South Australia. However, any interventions

undertaken to secure the care and protection of detainees must be actioned

by DIMA. DIMA will consider carefully FAYS recommendations to ensure

that the best interests of the child are protected. [24]

The states and territories

have had legislation to protect children from such abuse for a decade

or more. The definition of child abuse in South Australia clearly covers

the psychological and emotional abuse of children occurring in ACM/DIMIA

institutions:

CHILDREN’S PROTECTION ACT 1993 - SECT 6

Interpretation

“abuse or neglect”, in relation to a child, means—

“(a)”

sexual abuse of the child; or

“(b)”

physical or emotional abuse of the child, or neglect of the child, to

the extent that—

(i) the child has

suffered, or is likely to suffer, physical or psychological injury detrimental

to the child’s wellbeing; or

(ii) the child’s

physical or psychological development is in jeopardy…,

Western Australia

The Western Australian Family and Children's Services describe abuse and

its consequences in the following ways [emphasis in bold is authors]:

The following

definition of child maltreatment has been formulated by child protection

professionals. The wording of these definitions is important because

of the legal implications related to child maltreatment.

Child maltreatment

occurs when a child has been subjected to sexual, emotional or physical

actions or inactions, the severity and/or persistence of which has resulted

in significant harm or injury to the child; or where a child has been

exposed or subjected to exploitative or inappropriate sexual acts.

The description

of child maltreatment includes situations where a child is denied available

food, shelter, medical attention or supervision to the extent that the

child has suffered significant harm or injury…..

Emotional

maltreatment describes significant impairment of a child’s social,

emotional, cognitive and intellectual development, and/or disturbance

of the child’s behaviour which result from behaviours such

as persistent hostility, rejection or scapegoating.

All

forms of maltreatment are likely to result in emotional problems for

the child, particularly a lack of self-esteem and a distrust of adults.

The longer the maltreatment continues the more serious the effects.

Maltreated children are more likely than other children to be self destructive

or aggressive, to abuse drugs and alcohol, or to become young offenders

or ‘street kids’. In some situations maltreatment may result

in permanent physical damage and even death.

In the longer

term adults who have been maltreated may be more likely to maltreat

their own children and can often experience difficulties in forming

satisfactory relationships with other adults.

Treatment and

counselling services for children who have been maltreated assist in

working through the trauma and in reducing the effects of the maltreatment.

The most serious effects are likely to occur when no one takes

action to stop the maltreatment and protect the child.

Physical or

behavioural signs can assist in recognising child maltreatment. Injuries

to a child such as bruises or fractures may be a sign of maltreatment

although it must be remembered that such injuries are also seen in children

who are not maltreated. It is the persistent occurrence of injuries

which may be cause for concern.

Behavioural

changes in a child can also be a sign of maltreatment. For example a

child suddenly being highly anxious or withdrawn for no apparent reason

may be a cause for concern. However a child’s behaviour is likely

to be affected if he or she is under stress and there can be many causes

of stress including child maltreatment. It is important to find out

specifically what is causing the physical and/or behavioural signs you

can see. [25]

Keeping children safe

The State child protection agencies have the power to investigate notifications

of child abuse in Commonwealth facilities but can only make recommendations

to DIMIA. These may or may not be acted upon. The best interests of the

children are not being followed by DIMIA, for if the criteria above were

followed by DIMIA, given the scale of self-harm which FOI searches have

revealed, any responsible organisation could not keep children in such

dangerous conditions.

The feeling among

many professionals working with the child victims of institutional abuse

in DIMIA's facilities is that the criteria used for DIMIA's responses

to child abuse notifications are rarely in the ‘best interests of

the child', or that of the mass of children detained. Rather, they are

in the 'best interests of the Department' on a case by case basis according

to the political risk that public awareness of children's self-harm could

cause. Such treatment of children in Commonwealth care is not surprising

in a Department that is running large institutions that control many thousands

of human beings, but does not directly employ social workers and psychologists

at a senior level to advise it about the effects of its policies on those

human beings. The purpose of DIMIA is migration, not child protection,

and its officers are ignorant and professionally ill-equipped to make

decisions about the welfare of children who are detained.

CASE 2. Physical Abuse of an Child in ACM/DIMIA Detention Centre and Failure

in Medical Treatment

'Isa' and her three children, now released, spent nine and a half months

in detention [detention centre removed] in contravention of three UN Human

Rights Conventions that are in force in Australia. Her children were aged

[age removed] (‘Mohamed’), [age removed] (‘Nadia’),

and [age removed] (‘Katrina’) at the time. ‘Isa’

had a protracted battle with the Department of Immigration, Multicultural

and Indigenous Affairs to arrange for the eldest daughter to attend school

outside the detention centre. Inside the detention centre, ‘Mohamed’

was expected to do his schooling by correspondence or participate in the

daily English class run for other detainees. He already had excellent

English. Through ‘Isa'’s persistence and complaints, eventually

he was permitted to attend the local school.

‘Nadia’

was deeply traumatised by her previous experiences and, as the family's

detention dragged on, she became more depressed and manifested symptoms

of posttraumatic stress disorder. She would frequently sit in a dark room

rocking and crying. She refused to play. She did not sleep. Despite numerous

complaints, no psychologist was organised by ACM/DIMIA. Eventually when

a private psychologist was organised, their report was alarming about

the mental well being of the child. A day or two after being visited by

the psychologist, the mother was quite seriously assaulted by another

woman detainee and ‘Nadia’'s wrist was broken. It was around

two weeks before the child was taken to the hospital where an X-ray confirmed

that her wrist was broken. During that time, the child was crying and

clearly in pain, with the mother strongly advocating to the detention

centre that her child be taken to hospital. Written complaints about the

failure to investigate the cause of the broken wrist were put to ACM.

ACM investigated the case and concluded there was no basis to the complaint.

However the cause of the broken wrist and the two-week delay in medical

treatment were not officially discovered.

iv) Professional

Negligence

Based on the information obtained under Freedom Of Information (FOI) shown

above, there is a high probability that DIMIA has further information

on its records showing that its officers have knowledge of the scale and

degree of self-harm occurring in its facilities and the damage this is

causing to children. The conclusion drawn on the basis of the evidence

above is that significant harm is occurring to large numbers of children.

The sheer scale of self-harm in these facilities - 264 incidents reported

in just 8 months - indicates not just profound damage to the adults, but

is particularly damaging to the psychological and emotional development

of children. To ignore such treatment of children in DIMIA institutions

would be ethically reprehensible and leave the Commonwealth open to charges

of negligence. The possibility of future criminal charges being laid against

ACM and DIMIA officials for failing to respond and remove children from

these environments is real, as are future compensation claims by asylum

seeker children granted refugee status who become future Australian citizens.

CASE 3. ACM/DIMIA

Place Children in Solitary Confinement, and Starvation

[Name removed] was

held in [name of detention centre removed] with his [son - age removed]

[name removed]. Both had been in detention for more than [number removed]

months. The child was [number removed] months upon his arrival in Australia.

His mother and two other siblings are still in [country of origin removed].

In July 2000, [the father] participated in a hunger strike against conditions

in detention. At 4am on 31 July 2000, 19 people including [the father]

and his son were transferred to [another] detention centre. Amongst the

19 were five male children aged [ages removed]. The adults were handcuffed,

some with plastic cuffs and those considered to be troublemakers with

metal cuffs. [The father] asked one of the guards to undo his handcuffs

so that he could hold his child. The guard did so. Two other guards came

up to the father challenging why his handcuffs were off. [The father]

complained that his hair was pulled and his child, who was clinging to

his leg, was pushed away roughly by the guards. [The father] challenged

the guard's treatment of his child and the guards put the child into plastic

leg locks. The child was left in leg locks for around 45 minutes. They

were taken off prior to leaving the detention centre.

The plane to [detention

centre removed] was privately chartered. Guards were on board. One father

was there with his two children who were talking to each other. The guards

told them to be quiet. The father challenged the guards' harsh words and

the older child (aged [removed]) was handcuffed. He was handcuffed throughout

the plane journey.

For around 32 hours,

three of the five children did not have any food. None of the children

were participating in the hunger strike. The children had their last food

at around 8pm on the Friday night. They were awoken during the night and

told to be ready for transfer at 4am the next morning. On the plane, sandwiches

were offered to the two children who were awake. The parents of the three

children who were asleep asked if they could take sandwiches for their

children to eat later when they woke. They were refused. Upon arrival

at Port Hedland, the appointed dinnertime was already over. The parents

asked for food for the children but were told that they would have to

wait until breakfast at 7am the next morning. Hence three of the children

had no food for 32 hours.

Upon arrival at [detention

centre removed], all 19 people were put into individual isolation cells

including children who were held in isolation for around two hours before

being reunited with their parents. [Name removed] continued with the hunger

strike for a further three days after arriving at Port Hedland. Guards

threatened that he would die in there and no one would know what happened

and no one would care for his son. He was told that he would be deported

if he continued with the hunger strike. He was told that if he broke the

hunger strike he would be released into the general community.

Eventually he broke

his hunger strike but he was not released from the cell for a further

ten days. For the whole 13 days, his son was held with him in a one-person

cell without windows, a shower or a toilet. No bedding was provided for

the child.

Twice a day they were taken for a few minutes to the toilet. At other

times his son needed to go to the toilet. [Name removed] would bang on

the door but no guards would come and his child would soil the floor.

There were no toys or any other items for the child to play with. Aside

from the trips to the toilet, they were both held in this cell for 24

hours per day.

On 20 August 2000,

[the father] and [his son] were transferred back to Villawood detention

centre. [The father] tried to arrange for his son to be seen by the detention

centre doctor but the doctor was always busy. The nurse tried to make

the appointments with the doctors but they did not happen. ‘Baban’

became very worried about his son, because since the experience of being

locked in the isolation cells, the child's demeanour had markedly changed.

[His son] was not eating or sleeping very well, cried almost continuously

and was very angry. [His son] became sick and [The father] again tried

to be seen by the detention centre doctors. [The father] asked for friends

to bring medication in for his son, but this is not allowed. Two NSW Department

officers were told of the condition of [his son] and arranged for a psychologist

to visit.

[The father] says:

“Yesterday

he [his son] went to bed at around 1am and 6am he woke and he wakes up

three to four times in the night screaming. He did not use to be like

this. He is not eating. I cannot get any help here and I don’t know

what to do. What could any parent do in this terrible situation? I cannot

protect him from this treatment. This is what has happened to my child.

“I never want

to remember everything that has happened to my child. It was very hard

for him especially in the cell. The child wouldn’t run or play,

there were no toys, nothing for him to do at all. When I remember those

times I get really upset.”

Human

Rights Standards

i) Australia

and Human Rights Standards

This section examines the provisions made by Australia to implement its

international human rights obligations regarding child asylum seekers,

including unaccompanied minors.

The Australian Government

is has voluntarily agreed to adhere to three United Nations Human Rights

Conventions in regards to children, including:

4. The

Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990) - which calls

for governments to abide by the best interests of the child and to only

detain them as a measure of last resort;

5. The International Convention on Civil and Political Rights

(1975) – which prohibits arbitrarily detaining people including

children; and

6. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1954)-

which prohibits punishing people seeking asylum by virtue of the illegal

nature of their arrival.

The dates that the

Australian Government voluntarily ratified these treaties – that

is, formally agreed to adhere to them, are shown above. Based on what

we know about experiences of children in detention, the Australian Government

is violating the human rights of children seeking asylum.

Moreover the Australian

Government has flouted three different sets of United Nations Standards

which seek to protect children, including:

4. UNHCR

Revised Guidelines on Applicable Criteria relating to the Detention of

Asylum Seekers – which recommended children should not

be detained.

5. UNHCR

Guidelines on Policies and Procedures in dealing with Unaccompanied Children

Seeking Asylum - which recommends that children who are unaccompanied

should not be detained.

6. The United

Nations Standard Minimum rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice

(The Beijing Rules) which set out standard of treatment for juveniles

which recommends alternatives to institutionalisation be taken.

In June 1999, the

Executive Committee of the UN High Commissioner's for Refugees Program

examined the situation of detaining asylum seekers. [26]

This UN Standing Committee was concerned with the States increasingly

resorting to the institutionalisation of detention of asylum seekers.

The Committee stated that it

…deplores

that any countries continue to routinely detain asylum seekers (including

minors) on an arbitrary basis, for unduly long periods, without giving

them adequate access to UNHCR and to fair procedures for timely review

of their detention status.

Such detention is

arbitrary when it is not accompanied by fair and efficient procedures

for review. It may also be arbitrary if it is disproportionate, or indefinite.

In Australia in 1999-2000, more than 2,500 asylum seekers were held more

than six months in mandatory detention.

The Australian Human

Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has noted:

When prolonged

detention occurs, conditions for people can become unacceptable. Provisions

for education, health, welfare, recreation, provision for religious

and cultural observances, which might be acceptable in the short term,

become inadequate and unacceptable in the long term. [27]

The policy of mandatory

detention leads to prolonged detention in many cases. These human rights

conventions also include Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil

and Political Rights (ICCPR), which states “Detention must be subject

to judicial or administrative review to ensure that it continues to be

necessary in the circumstances.”

At present, the Australian

Government is not adhering to Article 9 of the International Covenant

on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which successive Australian Governments

of both political parties had voluntarily agreed to respect after it was

signed. It entered into force in Australia on 10 December 1975. In 1999/2000

in Australia:

  • 1571 refugees

    were held in mandatory detention for periods between 6 and 9 months;

  • 834 refugees

    were held in detention for periods of between 9 and12 months;

  • 192 were held

    for 12 to 24 months;

  • 27 were held

    for 24 to 36 months; and

  • 11 were held for

    more than 36 months. [28]

Many of those detained

for such lengthy periods of time are children. As a result, the Australian

Government is currently violating human rights of people claiming asylum

by arbitrarily detaining many of them.

The Executive Committee

of UNHCR (hereon ‘the Committee’) noted that such practices

were inconsistent with established human rights standards and urged States

to explore more actively all feasible alternatives to detention. The Committee

stated that “ the right to liberty is a fundamental human right

set out in universal and regional human rights agreements.” [29]

ii) The UNHCR

Guidelines on the Detention of Asylum Seekers

The UNHCR Committee refers to the UNHCR Revised Guidelines on Applicable

Criteria Relating to the Detention of Asylum Seekers [30]

[hereon referred to as the Guidelines], which could be considered best

practice standards. The UNHCR Guidelines are unequivocal:

The Detention

of asylum seekers is in the view of UNHCR inherently undesirable. [31]

The UNHCR Guidelines

are explicit about detention of persons under the age of 18 too:

Minors who are asylum seekers should not be detained.

[32] [UNHCR's emphasis]

The Australian Government

currently flouts UNHCR's stipulation on not detaining asylum-seeker children.

Given that the Guidelines are not an international treaty, and do not

bind Australia in a legal sense, should we expect Australia – a

sovereign state and founding member of the United Nations – to adhere

to the 'guidelines' of a UN agency charged with the responsibility of

dealing with refugees and asylum seekers?

The Guidelines are

important and relevant to Australia because they are based on a number

of international human rights treaties and standards that Australia has

voluntarily ratified (and has been involved in creating) and they make

the case for not detaining asylum-seeker children. The UNHCR's Manual,

Refugee Children: Guidelines on Protection and Care [33]

reinforces this position of treating asylum seeker children as beings

who possess human rights, arguing that international treaties are important

to refugee children because they set standards. When a State such as Australia

ratifies a treaty, the State promises to the international community (and

its own people) that it will conduct itself according to the standards

in the treaty. Australia ratified the Convention on the Rights of the

Child [CROC] in 1989. It entered into force on 7 December 1990. The CROC

is important to minors seeking asylum because it sets out the following

standards, which Australia has agreed to abide by:

  • Article 37 of

    the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CROC). This requires States

    to ensure that detention of minors be used only as a measure of last

    resort and for the shortest possible time.

  • Article 2. This

    requires that States take all measures appropriate to ensure that children

    are protected from all forms of discrimination or punishment on the

    basis of the status activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the

    child's parents, legal guardians or family members;

  • Article 3. This

    provides that in any actions taken by State parties concerning children,

    the best interest of the child shall be the primary consideration;

  • Article 9. This

    grants the right not to be separated from their parents against their

    will;

  • Article 29. Education

    of the child shall be directed to the development of the child's personality,

    talents and mental and physical abilities.

The full legal impact

of Australia's signing of the CROC cannot be felt under Australian law

as Commonwealth parliamentarians have failed to bring any of the provisions

of the CROC into Australian legislation. Nevertheless, Australia's decade-old

ratification of the CROC has the powerful moral effect of a set of internationally

recognised universal human rights as well as being the most ratified human

rights convention. Australia agreed to uphold universal human rights when

it signed the UN Charter in 1947 and became a member of the international

community. To ignore or flout such international human rights standards

leads not only to Australia's current violation of the human rights of

children seeking asylum, but threatens to weaken the international system

of protecting the human rights of children.

The Australian Government

incarcerated 1147 asylum seeker children in 2000 and has detained hundreds

more in 2001-2. At best, little or no effort has been made by the Australian

Government to abide by UN human rights standards for children seeking

asylum, and the Commonwealth Parliament should as a matter of urgency

adopt the UNHCR guidelines on asylum seekers and implement its recommendations

in regard to children.

iii) Mandatory

Detention of Child Asylum-Seekers and Punishment

The UNHCR Guidelines state that there should be a 'presumption against

detention'. This is based on two grounds: one of principle and one based

on experience. The principle is embodied in Article 14 of the Universal

Declaration of Human Rights which states that the right to seek and enjoy

asylum is a basic human right while UNHCR's experience shows that:

The position

of asylum seekers differs fundamentally from all other-ordinary immigrants

in that they may not be in a position to comply with legal formalities

of entry. This element, as well as the fact that asylum seekers have

often had traumatic experiences, should be taken into account in determining

any restorations on freedom of movement based on illegal entry or presence.

[34]

The accounts of the

minors illustrate the trauma that asylum seekers carry as a result of

the separation from their family and the dangerous flight to asylum. One

of the minors, 15 year old 'A' made the journey to Australia reluctantly,

filled with grief at leaving his home and family: “I didn’t

want to come here, but my mother said the Taliban would kill me. I didn’t

even know where Australia was.” It took ‘A’ one month

and 14 days to reach Australia. In Indonesia he embarked upon a voyage

where he feared for his life:

On the boat

there were about 300 people. I was scared on the boat. It was small,

and there were many people, it didn’t seem safe. I was scared.

People honestly thought they were going to die before they reached Australia.

Another 17-year-old

minor, ‘M’ had suffered significant distress growing up. His

family house was burnt in 1991 possibly as a result of the conflict surrounding

‘Operation Desert Storm’ against Iraq. The Iraqi government

in 1996 was arresting people in his area and they fled to Iran. [35]

Detention of a minor can compound such distress and exacerbate trauma.

The Committee further

pointed out that Article 31 of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status

of refugees prohibits the punishment of refugees for illegal entry. Australia

signed this UN Convention in 1954. Since the introduction in 1992 of mandatory

detention for unauthorised arrivals, which falls disproportionately upon

asylum-seekers who arrive by boat on our northern shores, violation of

Article 31 has become routine in the Australian immigration detention

system.

A 16-year-old minor,

‘B’, explained the reality of childhood and youth for him

and how he felt about being ‘illegal’:

In my country,

if your father, or cousin, or brother had a problem with the government,

like saying something bad about the government in front of people, or

avoiding military service, if they can’t catch your father or

brother, they will catch you instead. And they will tell your family

that they will not release you until the father or brother come and

that you will be kept in jail and eventually executed. …My cousin

didn’t want to do army service, which means they would come for

me, and then they ask (DIMIA) why do you come here illegally? They don’t

know what is happening in my country now.

The Committee observed

that minor asylum seekers are regularly detained or threatened with detention

because of their own, or their parents', illegal entry into the country.

Such detention, the Committee said, "can pose grave risks to their

well being, their education and their psychological development."

[36] Australia routinely incarcerates children and their

families who arrive by boat without a visa.

iv) Unaccompanied

minors

The UNHCR has a separate set of standards for unaccompanied minors that

are also based on human rights principles and mutually reinforce the other

UNHCR guidelines already discussed. The UNHCR guidelines on Policies and

Procedures in dealing with Unaccompanied Children Seeking Asylum [37]

also assert the guiding principle in any childcare and protection action

is the principle of the "best interests of the child", and that

unaccompanied minors are entitled to "special care and protection".

Unaccompanied minors should not be kept in detention, the Guidelines observe,

and continue:

States which,

regrettably and contrary to the preceding recommendation, may keep children

seeking asylum in detention, should, in any event, observe article 37

of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, according to which detention

should be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest

appropriate period of time….

The Guidelines on

Unaccompanied minors also illustrate where Australia is currently failing

these groups of children:

  • They must not

    be held under prison-like conditions.

  • The underlying

    approach to such a progamme (sic) should be ‘care’ and not

    ‘detention’.

  • Facilities should

    not be located in isolated areas where culturally–appropriate

    community resources and legal access may be unavailable.

All six of Australia's

immigration detention centres possess prison-like conditions, surrounded

as they are by palisades, barbed wire and managed by a prison management

company, Australasian Correctional Management (ACM). Moreover the programs

run by ACM for children cannot transcend the prison-like environment and

the fact that people are detained undermines the duty of care to ensure

the best interests of the child. Three of the six centres – Port

Hedland, Woomera and Curtin fail the last test, as they are in remote

areas where culturally appropriate community resources are not available.

The testimony that is provided in this report is evidence towards this

conclusion.

How might the current

system be improved?

v) The Guidelines

and Alternatives to Detention

In August 2000, the UN Economic and Social Council's Sub-commission on

the promotion and protection of human rights, encouraged states to "adopt

alternatives to detention" of asylum seekers. [38]

The UN's views were informed by UNHCR's Guidelines on Applicable Criteria

and Standards relating to Detention of Asylum Seekers. The UNHCR Guidelines

argue that the detention of asylum seekers is "Inherently undesirable.”

This is even “more so” in the case of vulnerable groups such

as single women, children, unaccompanied minors and those with special

medical and psychological needs.

The Guidelines assert

a 'general principle' that asylum seekers should not be detained. Under

Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right to

seek and enjoy asylum is recognised as a basic human right. In exercising

this right asylum seekers are often forced to arrive at or enter a territory

illegally. The Guidelines argue that the circumstances of asylum seekers

differ fundamentally from that of ordinary immigrants in that they are

not able to comply with legal formalities for entry. This fact coupled

with the fact that many asylum seekers have suffered trauma, “should

be taken into account in deterring any restriction on freedom of movement

based on illegal entry or presence.”

The UNHCR guidelines

reinforce Article 9 of the ICCPR, arguing that detention "must be

subject to judicial or administrative review to ensure that it continues

to be necessary in the circumstances." The Guidelines argue that

detention should only be resorted to in case of necessity, and therefore

the detention of asylum seekers who come "directly" in an irregular

manner (such as unlawful non–citizens) should not be automatic nor

should it be unduly prolonged." The Guidelines suggest that this

should apply to asylum seekers pending determination of their status.

The Guidelines recommend that detention should only take place after a

full consideration of all possible alternatives. In assessing whether

detention of asylum seekers is necessary, the Guidelines state that account

should be taken of whether it is reasonable to do so and whether is “proportional

to the objectives to be achieved." It should only be imposed in a

non-discriminatory manner for a minimal period.

The UNHCR Guidelines

are clear that detention should only be resorted to in three instances:

1. For preliminary interviews while identifying the basis of an asylum

claim. It is not to be used or extended while determination of the claim

is occurring.

2. When it has been established that an asylum seeker has had an intention

to mislead or refusal to cooperate. Travelling with fraudulent documents

or without documents are not sufficient grounds in themselves, particularly

the latter, as asylum seekers have may not have been able to obtain

genuine documents in their country of origin.

3. To protect national security and public order in cases where there

is evidence that the asylum seeker has criminal connections or record.

As an aside, on the

above point of security, it is interesting to note that minors had indirectly

heard of ill-considered allegations made against asylum seekers by the

former Defence Minister Peter Reith during the last Federal election,

that some may be terrorists. ‘B’ noted without prompting,

in regard to the length of time it took to be processed by DIMIA and ASIO:

"If you are a terrorist or spy, you don't come by boat."

vi) Improving

the Standards of Care for Children in Detention

Contrary to the alarming assertions put forward by the Government, which

suggest that all who are concerned about human rights of asylum-seekers

wish to abandon management of the borders and allow people seeking asylum

to freely enter the country, WYPIN and CCJDP share a more rational view

with many other responsible refugee organisations. WYPIN and CCJDP acknowledge

both the legitimate need of the state to manage borders and immigration

and the expectation of the Australian public that border management is

done professionally and effectively. WYPIN and CCJDP do not support the

recent manufacturing of a sense of hysteria around the issue of “border

control,” the down-playing of Australia's humanitarian obligations

to assist those seeking asylum, or ill-willed assertions that people seeking

asylum threaten national sovereignty or are potential terrorist threats.

Such hysteria, while undoubtedly bringing political benefits, makes for

irrational policy development which can be illogical, inhumane, costly

and unsustainable – such as the creation of the Pacific detention

centres. These remote centres are gravely worrying due to the lack of

public scrutiny of conditions and the welfare of people, particularly

children and young people.

WYPIN and CCJDP support

a humane system of reception where people are held temporarily while health,

identity and security checks are made. The introduction of standards based

on UNHCR Guidelines would be a crucial and humane advance on the current

system where publicly responsible standards are ill defined or absent

all together.

Children and their

carers should not be detained, however, for a period longer that 7 days

for children and their primary carers and 28 days for adults. After that

they should be released into funded support programs that allow them to

reside within the community while their claims are processed.

The arguments put

up against the community release of children and their carers are built

on hollow foundations. Most people who arrive by plane and then claim

asylum remain living in the community while their claim is processed.

The professed fear of people released from detention absconding is rather

exaggerated given that two thirds of asylum seekers – numbering

several thousands - already live out of detention in the community and

manage to comply with DIMIA reporting requirements. This has always been

the case of course; DIMIA statistics reveal that no unauthorised asylum

seeker released on a bridging visa in Australia from 1996-1998 failed

to meet their reporting obligations to DIMIA. [39] Assertions

about Australia not having a national identity card system are misleading.

Such records are unnecessary in the existing DIMIA compliance system for

people in the community. This has a high degree of implicit compliance

through the fact that people rely on certain government-provided benefits

for their livelihood, and have a vested interest in seeing their claim

through. Similarly, an experiment in the US of 640 detainees released

into the community had a 95% rate of compliance on release. [40]

In Sweden, there has proven to be a high level of compliance with decisions,

with very few asylum seekers absconding while under supervision. A system

of release into the community, after initial health and security checks,

has brought significant reduction in the use of taxpayers' money and in

public outcry. Sweden now has the lowest levels of illegal immigrants

living in the community in Europe, with research showing that resettled

refugees integrate quickly into the community with no increase in levels

of welfare dependency or crime. [41]

Support for minors

with their families to live in the community could be provided by an expanded

Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme (ASAS) managed by the Australian Red Cross

that provides income support and Medicare benefits. Such a system could

provide an expanded range of supports from welfare agencies and a national

case management system for asylum seekers [as advocated by ‘Justice

for Asylum Seekers’ (‘JAS’) ]. [42]

The average cost

of keeping a child or adult in a mainland detention centre has increased

from the table above to $120 per day. Costs vary from centre to centre

as they include expenses such as those for employees, travel, motor vehicles,

telephones, interpreting costs, depreciation and other administrative

costs.

By comparison, many asylum claimants living in the community are eligible

for a period of time for the Government funded ASAS which is managed by

the Australian Red Cross. In 2000-1, 2,691 people were claiming asylum

received ASAS payments averaging at 89 per cent of the Centrelink special

benefit. [43] A single male over 21 is paid approximately

$400 per fortnight on the scheme, while a couple without dependants are

paid approximately $600. Administration costs for the scheme runs at an

average of 12 per cent and it cost the public purse $11,185,000 in 2001,

up from $9,950,000 in 1999-2000.

ASAS provides a casework

service and limited financial assistance to asylum seekers in the community.

Casework services offer:

  • crisis intervention

    and needs assessment

  • counseling
  • administration

    of limited financial assistance, health care and pharmaceutical program

  • referral to other

    agencies (legal, medical, specialist counseling, social, education,

    material-aid, housing)

  • advocacy
  • group work
  • administration

    of limited emergency relief funds. [44]

Ongoing assistance

is subject to continuing needs assessment by Red Cross ASAS caseworkers.

Asylum seekers who

meet certain exemption criteria may qualify for ASAS payments within the

six-month waiting period.[45] Assistance is also available

for health and character check costs associated with the Protection Visa

application process.

In the case of unaccompanied

minors, the State Governments have existing funding relationships with

the Commonwealth to provide case management, income support and education,

health and work entitlements. This support should be available for the

duration of the assessment of people's claims and relevant appeals within

the Immigration determination system.

The Guidelines argue

that there should be a “presumption against detention” particularly

where alternatives are possible:

  • monitoring mechanisms

    – such as reporting obligations; or

  • guarantor requirements.

WYPIN and CCJDP

support the use of the former: monitoring systems such as a reporting

obligation which could be exercised by DIMIA creating a compliance desk

for minors which could liaise with bodies caring for the minors such as

Red Cross or the State Government-based unaccompanied minors programs.

For example, if the minor is receiving ASAS payments via the Australian

Red Cross, then Australian Red Cross could provide DIMIA's compliance

unit with notification of where the minor and their carers are living

and give regular reports that the minor or their guardian have checked

in to Australian Red Cross to receive their payments.

Similarly, if State

refugee minor programs are supporting the minor, then those programs could

ensure that the minors remain in contact and similarly provide data about

contacts made with the minors to DIMIA. In both cases (with ASAS or the

unaccompanied minor programs), the compliance should be unobtrusive and

should not impart a sense to the minor that they are being punished. In

both cases, legal responsibility for compliance should remain with DIMIA

unless guardianship is otherwise delegated by DIMIA to a State Government.

The role of ASAS and the State's unaccompanied minors’ programs

should be to provide a flow of information to DIMIA to ensure that the

minor is available and contactable and conversely to assist with advocating

the minor's situation to DIMIA.

Because of limited

financial resources in the community, WYPIN and CCJDP do not support the

concept of financial guarantors, believing such mechanisms to be inappropriate

and an inefficient use of community funds. Taxpayers are already voluntarily

supporting asylum seekers in the community and have better uses for their

money than to be paying bonds to DIMIA

Conclusion

The Department of

Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs is responsible for Immigration

Detention Centres where there is an endemic culture of self-harm amongst

detainees. The Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous

Affairs is exposing children to this culture of self-harm and as a result

is causing serious harm to occur to children and young people where the

development of the child is threatened or damaged. This is best described

as institutional child abuse.

Such abuse has arisen

because of the disregard for the human rights of asylum- seeker children

by successive Australian Governments since 1992. This institutional abuse

is a human tragedy that will leave a legacy of scars for a generation

because Australia’s Immigration Detention Centres further damage

children, who have already suffered considerable trauma and persecution

in their home countries. As adults, they will struggle to come to terms

with their compounded suffering. The human cost of the Australian Government's

violations of the human rights of asylum-seeker children is incalculable.

The disturbing testimony provided above reflects the experiences of just

four young people. However, thousands of children and adolescents have

been incarcerated in Australia's Immigration Detention Centres in the

past decade.

The Department of

Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs has shown that it uses

inappropriate, unprofessional and dangerous means in handling the best

interests of the children in its care. It is an inappropriate body to

be dealing with children, lacking transparency and accountability in regard

to its management of the immigration detention centres. DIMIA seems to

lack any sense of awareness of the internationally agreed human rights

standards or domestic legislative requirements required protecting children

and for them not to be held in detention. The responsibility for the daily

care of children should be removed from DIMIA immediately and transferred

to more experienced and professional bodies at such as the Australian

Red Cross, and state-based unaccompanied minors’ programs.

Australia should

immediately stop the damaging detention of children and young people.

Australia should immediately release children and their carers into the

community alongside the thousands of other asylum-seekers already living

freely in our society. Unless the Australian Parliament realises the enormity

of the tragedy of asylum-seeker children unfolding in DIMIA's detention

centres, and moves quickly to remedy this terrible damaging of the young,

then it will stand condemned as making Australia a violator of the human

rights of children. Current and future governments could be held accountable

in the courts for the damage it is knowingly doing to young people. The

risks of self-harm in detention centres are now too well known and any

attempt to dismiss the risk of harm to young people and children in DIMIA

centres could be seen as negligence. DIMIA could be responsible for a

new generation of profoundly damaged young people coming into our society

or being returned as damaged people to the countries whence they fled.

Attachments

1. CCJDP

request to DIMIA regarding incidents of self-harm in detention centres

24 October 2001

2. DIMIA's

data on Incidents of self-harm in Australian Immigration Detention Centres

23 April 2002

Attachment 1: CCJDP request to DIMIA regarding incidents of self-harm

in detention centres 24 October 2001

The Catholic Commission

for Justice Development and Peace would like to apply for the following

information from the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs:

1. Statistical details

about Incidents of Self-harm from 31 October 2000 – 31 October 2001

(reportable though Incident Reporting Procedures detailed in Operational

Orders) in Curtain Reception Centre, Woomera IDC, Port Headland Reception

Centre, Perth IDC, Villawood IDC and Maribyrnong IDC; in particular to

include:

  • Dates of all

    incidents

  • Nature of incidents

    (describe act of self harm)

  • Age, sex and

    nationality of person committing self harm (names and ID not required)

  • Numbers of days,

    person committing self harm, had been held in detention

  • Action taken

    by ACM and/or DIMA in response to self harm detailing medical referral

    (if occurred)

2. Statistical details

of incidents of solitary confinement from January 2001 – 31 October

(reportable though Incident Reporting Procedures detailed in Operational

Orders) in Curtain Reception Centre, Woomera IDC, Port Headland Reception

Centre, Perth IDC, Villawood IDC and Maribyrnong IDC; in particular to

include:

  • Dates of all

    incidents and duration of solitary confinement

  • Reason for solitary

    confinement

  • Age, sex and

    nationality of person held in solitary confinement

  • Any comments

    or reasons about extension of solitary confinement by Australian Correctional

    Management staff and /or DIMA.

3. Statistical details

of incidents of hunger strike from January 2001 – 31 October (reportable

though Incident Reporting Procedures detailed in Operational Orders) in

Curtain Reception Centre, Woomera IDC, Port Headland Reception Centre,

Perth IDC, Villawood IDC and Maribyrnong IDC; in particular to include:

  • Dates of all

    incidents and duration of hunger strike

  • Numbers of people

    making hunger strike

  • Age, sex and

    nationality of persons holding hunger strikes

  • Nature of actions

    taken by Australian Correctional Management staff in response to incidents

    of hunger strike

4. Correspondence

between DIMA and ACM pertaining to the above incidents

We will not be requiring

names of ACM or DIMA officials, or the personal details or ID about persons

held in detention centres, beyond general statistical information about

age, gender and nationality.

Attachment 2: DIMIA's data on Incidents of self-harm in Australian Immigration

Detention Centres 23 April 2002

Incidences

of self harm in Australian Immigration Detention Centres

1 March – 30 October 2001

This is a copy of

data provided by DIMIA. Numbers have been added to the original and it

has been reformatted for electronic communication.

Incidence Of Self Harm Age Gender

1 Self Harm - Hunger Strike – Minor 0-2yrs Male

2 Self Harm - Hunger Strike – Minor 0-2yrs Female

3 Self Harm - Hunger Strike – Minor 3-5yrs Female

4 Self Harm - Voluntary Starvation - Adult 3-5yrs Female

5 Self Harm - Hunger Strike – Adult 3-5yrs Female

6 Self Harm - Hunger Strike – Minor 3-5yrs Male

7 Self Harm - Hunger Strike – Minor 5-8yrs Male

8 Self Harm - Hunger Strike – Minor 5-8yrs Male

9 Self Harm - Voluntary Starvation - Minor 9-12yrs Male

10 Self Harm - Voluntary Starvation – Minor 9-12yrs Male

11 Self Harm - Voluntary Starvation - Minor 13-16yrs Male

12 Self Harm – Adult 13-16yrs Male

13 Self Harm – Hunger Strike – Minor 13-16yrs Female

14 Self Harm – Minor 13-16yrs Male

15 Self Harm - Voluntary Starvation - Minor 13-16yrs Male

16 Self Harm - Voluntary Starvation-Minor 13-16yrs Male

17 Self Harm – Minor 13-16yrs Male

18 Self Harm - Hunger Strike – Minor 13-16yrs Male

19 Self Harm – Minor 17yrs Male

20 Self Harm – Minor 17yrs Male

21 Self Harm – Adult 18-20yrs Male

22 Self Harm – Hunger Strike – Adult 18-20yrs Female

23 Self Harm – Attempted 18-20yrs Female

24 Self Harm – Adult 18-20yrs Male

25 Self Harm – Adult 18-20yrs Male

26 Self Harm – Attempted 18-20yrs Male

27 Self Harm – Voluntary Starvation – Adult 18-20yrs Male

28 Self Harm - Voluntary Starvation - Adult 18-20yrs Male

29 Self Harm – Attempted 18-20yrs Male

30 Self Harm – Attempted 20-25yrs Male

31 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

32 Self Harm – Attempted 20-25yrs Male

33 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

34 Self Harm - Hunger Strike – Adult 20-25yrs Male

35 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

36 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

37 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

38 Self Harm - Voluntary Starvation - Adult 20-25yrs Male

39 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

40 Self Harm - Hunger Strike – Adult 20-25yrs Male

41 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

42 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

43 Self Harm - Adult 20-25yrs Male

44 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

45 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

46 Self Harm - Voluntary Starvation - Minor 20-25yrs Male

47 Self Harm – Attempted 20-25yrs Male

48 Self Harm – Attempted 20-25yrs Male

49 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Female

50 Self Harm – Adult 20-25 yrs Male

51 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

52 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

53 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

54 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

55 Self Harm – Attempted 20-25yrs Male

56 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

57 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

58 Self Harm – Attempted 20-25yrs Male

59 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

60 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

61 Self Harm - Voluntary Starvation – Adult 20-25yrs Male

62 Self Harm – Attempted 20-25yrs Male

63 Self Harm – Attempted 20-25yrs Male

64 Self Harm – Attempted 20-25yrs Male

65 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

66 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

67 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

68 Self Harm – Attempted 20-25yrs Male

69 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Female

70 Self Harm – Attempted 20-25yrs Male

71 Self Harm – Attempted 20-25yrs Male

72 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

73 Self Harm – Attempted 20-25yrs Male

74 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

75 Self Harm – Attempted 20-25yrs Male

76 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

77 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

78 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

79 Self Harm – Attempted 20-25yrs Male

80 Self Harm - Hunger Strike – Minor 20-25yrs Female

81 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

82 Self Harm - Voluntary Starvation – Adult 20-25yrs Male

83 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

84 Self Harm – Attempted 20-25yrs Male

85 Self Harm – Attempted 20-25yrs Male

86 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

87 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yre Male

88 Self Harm – Attempted 20-25yrs Male

89 Self Harm – Voluntary Starvation – Adult 20-25yrs Male

90 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

91 Self Harm – Voluntary Starvation – Adult 20-25yrs Male

92 Self Harm – Voluntary Starvation – Adult 20-25yrs Male

93 Self Harm – Voluntary Starvation – Minor 20-25yrs Male

94 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

95 Self Harm – Attempted 20-25yrs Male

96 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

97 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

98 Self Harm - Hunger Strike – Adult 20-25yrs Male

99 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

100 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

101 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

102 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

103 Self Harm – Attempted 20-25yrs Male

104 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

105 Self Harm - Attempted 20-25yrs Male

106 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

107 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

108 Self Harm – Hunger Strike – Minor 20-25yrs Male

109 Self Harm – Attempted 20-25yrs Male

110 Self Harm – Attempted 20-25yrs Male

111 Self Harm – Attempted 20-25yrs Male

112 Self Harm – Adult 20-25yre Male

113 Sod Harm – Adult 20-25yrs Male

114 Self Harm – Attempted 26-35yrs Male

115 Self Harm - Hunger Strike – Adult 26-35yrs Male

116 Self Harm – Hunger Strike – Minor 26-35yrs Female

117 Self Harm – Attempted 26-35yrs Male

118 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

119 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

120 Self Harm - Hunger Strike - Adult 26-35yrs Male

121 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

122 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Female

123 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

124 Self Harm - Attempted 26-35yrs Male

125 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

126 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

127 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

128 Self Harm – Attempted 26-35yrs Male

129 Self Harm - Voluntary Starvation – Adult 26-35yrs Male

130 Self Harm – Attempted 26-35yrs Male

131 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

132 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

133 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

134 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

135 Self Harm – Hunger Strike - Adult 26-35yrs Female

136 Self Harm – Hunger Strike - Adult 26-35yrs Male

137 Self Harm – Hunger Strike - Adult 26-35yrs Male

138 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

139 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

140 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

141 Self Harm – Voluntary Starvation - Adult 26-35yrs Male

142 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

143 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

144 Self Harm - Attempted 26-35yrs Male

145 Self Harm - Attempted 26-35yrs Male

146 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

147 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

148 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

149 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

150 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

151 Self Harm - Adult 28-35yrs Male

152 Self Harm - Adult 26-3Syrs Male

153 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

154 Self Harm - Hunger Strike - Adult 26-35yrs Male

155 Self Harm - Hunger Strike – Adult 26-35yrs Male

156 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

157 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

158 Self Harm – Voluntary Starvation – Adult 26-35yrs Male

159 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

160 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Female

161 Self Harm – Voluntary Starvation – Adult 26-35yrs Male

162 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

163 Self Harm – Voluntary Starvation – Minor 26-35yrs Male

164 Sod Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

165 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

166 Self Harm – Hunger Strike - Adult 26-35yrs Male

167 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Female

168 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

169 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

170 Self Harm - Hunger Strike - Adult 26-35yrs Male

171 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

172 Self Harm – Attempted 26-35yrs Female

173 Self Harm – Attempted 26-35yrs Male

174 Self Harm – Attempted 26-35yrs Male

175 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

176 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

177 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

178 Self Harm – Voluntary Starvation – Adult 26-35yrs Female

179 Self Harm – Voluntary Starvation – Adult 26-35yrs Male

180 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

181 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

182 Self Harm –Adult 26-35yrs Male

183 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

184 Self Harm – Voluntary Starvation – Adult 26-35yrs Male

185 Self Harm - Voluntary Starvation – Adult 26-35yrs Male

186 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

187 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

188 Self Harm - Hunger Strike - Adult 26-35yrs Male

189 Self Harm – Attempted 26-35yrs Male

190 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

191 Self Harm – Attempted 26-35yrs Male

192 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

193 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

194 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

195 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

196 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

197 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

198 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

199 Self Harm – Attempted 26-35yrs Male

200 Self Harm – Voluntary Starvation – Adult 26-35yrs Male

201 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

202 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

203 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

204 Self Harm – Attempted 26-35yrs Male

205 Self Harm – Attempted 26-35yrs Female

206 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

207 Self Harm - Voluntary Starvation – Adult 26-35yrs Male

208 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

209 Self Harm - Voluntary Starvation – Adult 26-35yrs Male

210 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

211 Self Harm – Adult 26-35yrs Male

212 Self Harm – Attempted 26-35yrs Female

213 Self Harm – Attempted 26-35yrs Male

214 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

215 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

216 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

217 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

218 Self Harm - Voluntary Starvation – Adult 26-35yrs Male

219 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

220 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

221 Self Harm - Hunger Strike - Adult 26-35yrs Male

222 Self Harm – Voluntary Starvation – Minor 26-35yrs Female

223 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

224 Self Harm - Voluntary Starvation – Adult 26-35yrs Female

225 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

226 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

227 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

228 Self Harm - Adult 26-35yrs Male

229 Self Harm – Attempted 26-35yrs Male

230 Self Harm - Hunger Strike - Adult 36-45yrs Male

231 Self Harm - Adult 36-45yrs Male

232 Self Harm - Adult 36-44yrs Male

233 Self Harm – Hunger Strike - Adult 36-45yrs Male

234 Self Harm – Attempted 36-45yrs Male

235 Self Harm - Attempted 36-45yrs Male

236 Self Harm - Adult 36-45yrs Male

237 Self Harm - Attempted 36-45yrs Male

238 Self Harm - Adult 35-45yrs Male

239 Self Harm - Hunger Strike - Minor 36-45yrs Male

240 Self Harm - Voluntary Starvation –Minor 36-45yrs Female

241 Self Harm - Attempted 36-45yrs Male

242 Self Harm - Hunger Strike - Adult 36-45yrs Female

243 Self Harm – Adult 36-45yrs Female

244 Self Harm – Voluntary Starvation – Minor 36-45yrs Female

245 Self Harm – Adult 36-45yrs Male

246 Self Harm – Adult 36-45yrs Male

247 Self Harm – Adult 36-45yrs Male

248 Self Harm – Adult 36-45yrs Male

249 Self Harm – Adult 36-45yrs Male

250 Self Harm - Hunger Strike - Adult 36-45yrs Male

251 Self Harm - Minor 46-55yrs Male

252 Self Harm - Adult 46-55yrs Male

253 Self Harm - Adult 46-55yrs Male

254 Self Harm - Adult 46-55yrs Male

255 Self Harm - Hunger Strike - Minor 46-55yrs Male

256 Self Harm - Adult 46-55yrs Male

257 Self Harm – Adult 46-55yrs Male

258 Self Harm – Voluntary Starvation – Adult 46-55yrs Female

259 Self Harm -Adult 46-5ryrs Male

260 Self Harm - Adult 46-55yrs Male

261 Self Harm - Attempted 46-55yrs Male

262 Self Harm – Adult 46-55yrs Male

263 Self Harm – Adult 46-55yrs Male

264 Self Harm - Hunger Strike - Adult 55-65yrs Male

Last

Updated 9 January 2003.