by Sarah Whyte —
Christmas Island: A report has shown 80 per cent of paediatricians believe offshore processing of children constitutes abuse. Christmas Island: A report has shown 80 per cent of paediatricians believe offshore processing of children constitutes abuse. Photo: James Brickwood
Doctors have warned that a royal commission on child abuse of minors in detention could be inevitable, as a report shows 80 per cent of paediatricians believe offshore processing of children constitutes abuse.
The research paper, Australia’s treatment of refugee and asylum seeker children: the views of Australian paediatricians, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, also found gaps in paediatricians’ knowledge of asylum seeker health. Of the 139 doctors interviewed, 60 per cent knew that the Minister for Immigration, Scott Morrison, was the legal guardian of detained unaccompanied minors, while one-third of the GPs studied had used a professional interpreter service while managing refugees. Co-author of the research paper, Professor David Isaacs, said mandatory detention of children was “traumatising” and “abhorrent”.
“It won’t surprise me, that in the long run there is a commission into this,” Professor Isaacs said. “In later years people could be saying, oh my goodness, how could we have done this to children.” “It’s not worthy of Australians, we’re better than that,” he said. It comes only days after Mr Morrison initiated an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse of children and women being detained on Nauru.
The review, headed by former integrity commissioner Philip Moss, will also look into claims that staff from aid organisation Save the Children, which provides counselling and social support to children on the island, fabricated stories of abuse. On Sunday, Australian Federal Police confirmed that the immigration department contractor who went missing on Christmas Island more than a week ago is likely to have died.
The AFP said that the land and sea operation had now turned into a recovery mission after a 55-year-old man disappeared last Saturday. His abandoned car was found near Winifred Beach last Tuesday. “After reviewing available information and assessing the environmental conditions, police have formed the view that the missing person is deceased,” an AFP spokesman said. It is understood the man worked for the Employment Assistance Program, which offers psychological assistance to people working for the Immigration Department’s Christmas Island detention centre.
Origional Post here: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/doctors-warn-of-a-royal-commission-into-detention-abuse-20141005-10qjuy.html