Trigger warning: This post deals with alleged child sexual abuse and self-harm, and may be distressing for some readers.
Former Save the Children case worker Kirsty Diallo told the public hearing today that a 16-year-old boy had been sexually assaulted by a cleaner on the island country last year.
Oliver Laughland of The Guardian reported on those claims last month, saying at the time witness accounts had revealed that “a cleaner employed by the detention centre manager Transfield Services grabbed the genitals of an asylum seeker boy”.
But the inquiry today heard the following further details, according to Alex McKinnon of Junkee:
“The sixteen-year-old boy was near the toilet-box and there was a male cleaner on his own in the centre…he touched the young boy’s genitals, and then grabbed his own genitals and said ‘jiggy-jig’… at that point guards were alerted because the young person was screaming out and had kicked at the cleaner”.
Ms Diallo also said at the inquiry in Sydney she had oberserved ‘flirtatious behaviour’ between guards and young girls. The Junkee says the inquiry heard:
“On occasions I observed adolescent girls engaged in what I would describe as flirtatious behaviour with adult male guards, and I also had a colleague report to me that he had observed an adult male guard stroking a fifteen-year-old girl’s hair”.
According to Yahoo News, Diallo said there was nothing to prevent child abuse in detention on Nauru. No working with children checks or local child protection legislation were in place, she said.
Previously, Mamamia wrote:
She was three years old and she suffered from epilepsy, but they took her medication away.
Others had their hearing aids or glasses removed.
Often, children harmed themselves — distressed, helpless, and denied specialised medical help.
These are just some of the shocking claims that emerged today during the third hearing of the Human Rights Commission’s inquiry into children in immigration detention.
Dr John Paul Sanggaran, who worked as a medical officer on Christmas Island last year, told the inquiry in Sydney today that detainee’s medications — including those of the three-year-old girl — were taken when they arrived at the island.
Dr Sanggaran and another doctor, Dr Grant Ferguson, also said at the public hearing that authorities often altered and downgraded their recommendations for the clinical treatment of detainees, Yahoo News reports.
Dr Sanggaran added that there were no no child psychologists or paediatricians on Christmas Island, the ABC reports.
Did the government try to cover up children’s mental health problems?
In other explosive news, a psychiatrist told today’s inquiry the Federal government attempted to cover up children’s mental health problems.
Psychiatrist Dr Peter Young, who was compelled to attend the public hearing, told the inquiry in Sydney: ‘It is quite clear we have got a large number of children with significant mental distress and disorder in this population’, Rebecca Barrett reports for the ABC.