A seven-year-old girl attempted suicide by cutting her face and chest with razor blades, children have jumped from buildings in attempts to kill themselves, and a two-year-old boy on Nauru played with cockroaches because “he has no other toys”, a report from the Australian Human Rights Commission says…. Every night she wakes up and screams that someone is coming to take her back to NauruMother of seven-year-old girl
She has no friends. She cries all the time and says I want to go from here. She has cut herself with a razor on her chin, face, chest. She eats poorly, has daily headache and tummy pain and poor weight gain. Every night she wakes up and screams that someone is coming to take her back to Nauru. (Mother of girl, aged 7)
Two of her friends jumped off the building and got broken hips and legs. They were sent to the community. She is talking about doing the same thing. She has been seen (by a counsellor in Darwin) and mental health here but says ‘talking to them doesn’t change anything for me.’ She has no medication, no psychiatrist. (Mother of girl, aged 15
When interviewed independently the girl reported: “I am at the end of the line. I’m really negative. I’m at the end. I feel maybe I should kill myself to end it all.” (Girl, aged 15)
My child was playing with cockroaches – he had no other toys. (Father of boy, aged 2
“Detention, whether on Christmas Island, Nauru or centres on the Australian mainland, is dangerous and unsafe for children. Thirty-four per cent of the hundreds of children we visited had severe to moderate mental illness, compared to 2% of children in the Australian community. Their health and wellbeing, and that of their parents, was at risk from cramped conditions in tents and remodelled containers, inadequate healthcare, even sexual and other assaults.
… The report said many children were being placed in detention already traumatised, and that the fact of detention, along with inadequate mental healthcare, was compounding their harm.
“Some children had witnessed atrocities at home, survived a traumatic boat trip, had been moved between several onshore to offshore detention centres, were traumatised by the presence of uniformed guards and actions such as head counts and had palpable anticipatory trauma at mention of return to Nauru.”
Children reported nightmares about being returned to Nauru, bed-wetting, vomiting and heart palpitations
…. Dutton has said in several interviews each case for removal to Nauru would be assessed individually.
“I’ve given an assurance I’m not going to send children back into harm’s way.”
Triggs said she welcomed the government’s commitment to individual assessment, rather than a “blanket approach”.
“You would have thought, on any rational analysis, and in light of the medical evidence, that you would have to conclude that the best interests of every one of those children is to remain in Australia.”