A new report has revealed the lasting damage to children caused by indefinite detention.
The Australian Human Rights Commission inquiry into children in immigration detention has called for a royal commission to establish the long term damage caused by holding children in detention.
The ABC has reported, there were 233 assaults in detention involving children, 33 incidents of reported sexual assault, with the majority involving children, and 128 children who harmed themselves, between January 2013 and March 2014.
According to “The Forgotten Children” report, more than one third of children who were in detention in the first half of last year were found to have serious mental health disorders.
There are currently 330 children in Australian detention facilities, including 119 on Nauru.
As of October 2014, they had been detained for an average of 14 months.
Amnesty International are among those calling for their urgent release.
“In light of the disturbing findings of the Commission’s report, we are renewing our urgent call to the Australian government to protect the health, welfare and human rights of children in its care,” said Graeme McGregor, Amnesty International’s Refugee Spokesperson.
“This report makes it clear that, to do that, all children and their parents must be released from the government’s detention centres, both in Australia onshore and offshore and on Nauru.”
Mr McGregor said that research showed the children continued to be denied access to proper health care, education and a normal family life, with long-term impacts.
“The report details the poor standard of education in detention, including a 12 month period at the Christmas Island detention centre during which more than 100 child detainees received no education at all,” he said.
The report also revealed cramped conditions with no reliable access to medical facilities or child protection services.
“The Commission has shown clearly why detention was, is and always will be an abusive and incompetent way to treat asylum seeker and refugee children”, said McGregor.
“There are alternatives and the government must put them into practice immediately by releasing all children from detention, both on and offshore.”