15 Sexual, 260 Other Assaults Alleged In Aussie Detention Centers

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More assaults occurred in Australia-based facilities than in Pacific

By political correspondent Emma Griffiths

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 26, 2015) – There have been 15 allegations of sexual assault and 270 reports of other types of assault in immigration detention centres in the past three months, with two cases involving children, the Immigration Department has revealed.

The statistics were revealed by department officials at a Senate estimates hearing on Tuesday afternoon.

Senators were told the two reports of child sexual assault had been made inside onshore detention centres. Another nine alleged sexual assaults involving adults also occurred onshore.

Four instances of alleged sexual assault were reported in facilities on Nauru and Manus Island.

An overwhelming number of other forms of assault were reported in Australian-based centres, with 239 allegations involving adults, and 11 involving children.

Another 20 allegations of assault were made in the Manus Island centre.

The committee was also told one employee on Manus Island was dismissed as a result of an earlier sexual assault investigation.

In the past 10 months, there have also been hundreds of instances of self-harm in detention centres, including 48 cases involving children in Australia, and 26 on Nauru.

As at the end of March, 124 children were being detained in Australia, some in community-based facilities.

The Nauru detention centre is home to 103 children, 126 women and 489 men.

Sexual abuse of women and children on Nauru is the focus of another Senate committee that met for the first time last week.

[PIR editor’s note: RNZI reported that ‘The Royal Australasian College of Physicians says Australia's policy of mandatory detention of asylum seekers must end. ... The College says the policy, which includes the housing of hundreds of people in camps on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and on Nauru, is simply inhumane. ... Dr Karen Zwi of the University of New South Wales' School of Women and Children's Health, says the College wants all the camps closed and people living in the community on the mainland.’]

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