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Australian Current Affairs

Australia’s asylum children risk developing mental illness in detention centres

Australia Asylum ChildrenThe first children’s commissioner to be given free access to child asylum seekers in Australian detention centres says many fear “going mental” with worry and severe boredom.

Tasmanian Children’s Commissioner Aileen Ashford this morning said many of the 137 boys held in an immigration detention centre at Pontville, near Hobart, told her they feared “going mental”.

Ms Ashford, who late last month talked to 29 of the boys, aged 13 to 17, who are without their parents, called for them to be released into the community.

She said it was unacceptable that the boys were receiving no schooling, aside from English, and that they had no equipment or facilities to play simple sport, such as cricket and soccer.

As well, she said the boys had received nothing in writing in their own language to explain their immigration status, with some not understanding why they were being held at the centre.

“They hadn’t had any community visitors,” she said. “I’ve been the first community visitor that they’ve seen.

“They also said they are having some problems sleeping…. The young men were worried they would go mental with worry about what was going to happen to them.”

She also expressed concern that, with the exception of South Australia, no state child welfare agency had jurisdiction to investigate child abuse or neglect inside the detention centres.

Comment has been sought from the federal government.

Source: The Australian – “Fears asylum children are ‘going mental'”

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.


4 thoughts on “Australia’s asylum children risk developing mental illness in detention centres

  1. Reblogged this on kattyjames.

    Posted by kattyjames | March 4, 2013, 20:24
  2. This sounds terribly unorganized on the part of the state if what you say is true. Awful circumstances that do not improve anyone’s lives

    Posted by slagravinese | March 4, 2013, 22:56


  1. Pingback: Australian asylum children denied right to attend school | Craig Hill - April 7, 2013

  2. Pingback: Australia: Asylum seekers children to stay on Manus Island despite doctor’s health warnings | Craig Hill - April 30, 2013

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