Statement from the Australian Council of Heads of Schools of Social Work
Professors of Social Work from Universities around Australia meeting in Melbourne call for an end to the abuse of children and their families in immigration detention. As leading experts in child and family well-being and protection we call on Minister Dutton and the Australian government to stop the deportation of children to inevitable abuse in Nauru and to honour our obligations under the UN conventions. We call for all children and their families to be released immediately from detention in Australia and offshore.
The 2014 Australian Human Rights Commission Forgotten Children report and the 2015 Health and Wellbeing of Children in Detention report both provide compelling evidence that prolonged immigration detention is harmful to the mental and physical health and well-being of children. Children held in detention are in despair, experiencing fear and hopelessness and their parents are unable to keep them safe.
The Minister should not hide behind this week’s High Court judgment. Begin the processes of addressing the cumulative harm today. Deporting the 267 people including 37 babies and 54 children currently in mainland detention is not only inhumane, it also breaches the fundamental human rights of the children and families. Release the children, stop the abuse.
We endorse the primary recommendation of the 2014 Forgotten Children Report that ‘all children and their families be released into community detention or the community on bridging visas with a right to work’.
Contact person Professor Margaret Alston, Monash University 0418242856, Email firstname.lastname@example.org