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Submission to the National
Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention from
Anonymous Visitor to Immigration
I have been visiting
an unaccompanied minor in [an IRPC] for some time. [words deleted]
The young boy I visit
is [words deleted]Afghani. When I first started to visit he was very distressed
and in my opinion suicidal. He told me he was crying every day and all
he did was cry and sleep. He also took part in a hunger strike and spoke
of stitching his lips together. His words "one week two week I be
dead, better if I dead no more cry no more thinking my mother my father."
I spoke of this with a friend of mine who arranged for a mental health
nurse to ring him. She is Iranian and was able to communicate with him
in a language he understood better. At no time to my understanding was
any counseling, assessment or any other treatment ever offered by DIMMA
I visit E(for privacy
reasons) [regularly] [sometimes with other people].It has become a family
affair and in the process E has become part of our family. E calls me
mum and I am the only parental figure he has. His need for family is very
great and over the time we are all very close and a special bond has formed.
Visits at times have been challenging, caused by ACM, times are changed
or canceled without notice, [some of my companions] were allowed and then
not allowed to come. This is sometimes for a reason but more than not
it is done to discourage you from visiting.
A few weeks ago E
got quite sick and was hospitalized. During his treatment he was given
[a drug]. It was not explained to him, or he did not understand and got
very frightened by the effects of the drug. He thought his mind had stopped
working, or that ACM had given him something to send him mad.
I had not been informed
of this. Two days after this incident I got word that he was again being
admitted to hospital. I rang ACM to try and get permission to see him
and was refused. The next day E rang me very distressed and asked "why
I not see him.' The officer on duty was quite willing to supervise my
visit, the officer then checked again with ACM and again I was refused.
During this time I also spoke to the ACM Center Manager, he said he appreciated
that we were very close with E but it was a DIMMA decision, he also said
if E was going to be admitted he would call us, He did not. On the third
day of the second admission I was finally granted permission to visit.
E was very glad to see me and reacted exactly like a child that has had
a traumatic and frighteng experience, all he wanted was to have his Mum
To my knowledge E
has never been placed in the family section of the compound nor has he
ever attended school. Except for adult English classes. He is housed with
the single men. The only extra consideration for him being a minor that
I know of is DIMMA talks to the unaccompanied minors once a week.
To my knowledge there
are only two unaccompanied minors in [one of the IDCs], one is fifteen
and E is sixteen. Both of these boys are now being challenged about their
ages. A few weeks ago DIMMA had both boys' wrists x-rayed. They were not
told why this was and their lawyers were not informed. They have now both
received letters to say that in the opinion of DIMMA the x-rays show they
are both 19 years. Not only has this been proven inconclusive by any reputable
agency, this[area] is notorious for taking extremely bad x-rays and [specialists
in another city have their patients come to that city] because they can
not trust the x-rays and assessments ones taken in [the area] to be accurate.
DIMMA and ACM will now say they have no unaccompanied minors in detention
at the Port Hedland center.
The support and care
that E now receives comes entirely from the outside. The visits from myself
[words deleted], almost daily phone calls from the Iranian lady who is
now also one of E's friends and 3 very lovely family's that write to him
and also sometimes telephone. We all try to give him the care and guidance
a teenager needs but razor wire is a difficult barrier to negotiate. It
is mainly upto E to `take care of himself.' Being a young person but also
a young person of limited formal education, the system is quite frightening
for him and also very confusing. People from the "outside" are
not allowed to help and are outright told not to give advise. This is
a job I feel should be done by a guardian within a family environment.
The big question is WHO will take the responsability for the unaccompanied
I am happy to discuss
any or all of this submission.
Thank you for taking the time to read my submission
Updated 9 January 2003.