Alternative Law Journal
Applying normal rules of law and child protection legislation to the situation of children in immigration detention centres.
In late 2001 an estimated 582 asylum seeking children were held in detention by the Australian government. By mid 2002 approximately 150 children remained in detention (excluding those interned in camps off-shore). Australia is the only country in the world to compulsorily detain asylum seekers who arrive without valid documentation. It involves an exercise of state power which in tandem with the suspension of normal legal protections that are available to others, brings Australia uncomfortably close to historical and contemporary examples of what happens when state regimes extinguish fundamental legal and constitutional rights understood to constitute the rule of law.
This article considers whether the circumstances under which young people are being held in various detention centres constitute a prima facie basis for determining that such children are at risk within the terms of Australia’s child protection legislation. I begin by establishing the criteria used in Commonwealth, state and territory legislation to determine whether a child is in ‘need of protection’. I then use that criteria to establish whether there is evidence that the welfare of young people held in detention centres is threatened by their detention and whether, if the normal rule of law were applied, those children would be brought under the protection of that legislation.
The idea that government ought itself be subject to the rule of law is a long standing and widely held liberal principle employed to guard against the arbitrary exercise of power. The criteria for identifying when a child’s welfare is at risk, which are found in 12 separate and current legislative enactments, points unequivocally to the serious plight of young people in Australia’s immigration detentions centres.
In Australia the legislative definitions of ‘in need of care and protection’, and the mandatory protection requirements are set out in the following legislation:
• Commonwealth: Family Law Act 1975;
• New South Wales: Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998;
• Victoria: Child and Young Person’s Act 1989;
• Queensland: Child Protection Act 1999;
• Queensland: Health Act 1937;
• South Australia: Family and Community Services Act 1972;
• Tasmania: Child Welfare Act 1960;
• Tasmania: Child Protection Act 1974;
• Tasmania: Child Protection Amendment Act 1986, 1987, 1991;
• ACT: Children’s Services Act;
• NT: Community Welfare Act 1983.
Under ‘normal’ circumstances, for a child to be placed on an order, a court needs to determine the child is in need of care and protection. This task is approached thematically; by identifying the following five main criteria used to determine whether a child is in need of protection:
• neglect, and inadequate provision of care,
• abuse and maltreatment,
• the health and development of the child being placed at risk,
• education, and
• parental responsibility and adequate supervision.
One point that medical and social scientific experts appear to agree on is that the social and emotional environment in which a child lives impacts on their health and wellbeing.
With this in mind, there appears to be a basis for child protection intervention in the New South Wales Children and Young persons (Care and Protection Act) 1998 . The same applies in the Victorian legislation (Child and Young Persons Act 1989, s.63).
In New South Wales, according to the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998, a child is defined as being in need of care if:
• adequate provision is not made for the child’s care,
• if the child is abused, or is likely to be abused, or
• if there is an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship between the child and one or more of the child’s parents.
The same applies with the Victorian legislation (s.63 of the Child and Young Persons Act 1989). According the Victorian Act a child is in need of protection if the child has suffered, or is likely to suffer, emotional or psychological harm of such a kind that the child’s emotional or intellectual development is, or is likely to be, significantly damaged and the child’s parent(s) have not protected or are unlikely to protect, the child from harm of that type.
In Tasmania the Child Welfare Act 1960 similarly stipulates that ‘neglect’ is evident in the failure to provide adequate care.
There is considerable evidence to suggest that young detainees are in an environment where there is not adequate provision available for the child’s care. This is apparent in the failure to provide a healthy context in which the child lives. Prison-like environments do not constitute adequate provision of care for the child. This is particularly so in centres where both child and adult inmates are strip searched, where riots occur on a routine basis; and where there are regular outbreaks of violence between inmates and inmates and guards including the use of water cannons and makeshift weapons (Age, 16 April 2001; Sunday Herald Sun, 10 March 2002).
Moreover, indeterminate imprisonment does not constitute adequate care for the child. Young people detained in detention centres are by virtue of their imprisonment being abused.
Freedom is a fundamental human right. Young detainees have not committed crimes. Their only offence was to have been born to parents seeking asylum.
Mandatory detention involves loss of liberty including restrictions on freedom of movement. This inhibits a child’s capacity to engage in any semblance of normal social, economic and cultural activities. I refer to the development of social skills and primary personal and community connections that provide a basis for social integration. Opportunities for social participation, according to most standard medical and sociological accounts are essential for healthy child and adolescent development. Thus, denying young detainees the chance to take part in general social activities inhibits their social and emotional development, and is said to be a major factor contributing to the development of later social and personal problems.
If children in civil society were segregated, isolated and subject to the ‘security measures’ child asylum seekers experience, that action would be widely held to constitute abuse. The experience of such incarceration for young people who have recently suffered directly at the hands of uniformed men (militia), or who have witnessed horrific violence en-route to Australia takes on a special meaning: it ‘does not constitute adequate care’.
There are issues about the degree of psychological and physical damage caused by a child’s incarceration. The imprisonment of young people with detainees, many of whom are suffering with their own health problems (eg, depression, suicidal ideation etc), does not constitute adequate care (former ACM psychology staff Lateline ABC, 23 April 2002). After visiting detention centres, Liberal MP Bruce Baird described what he saw as the ‘psychological impact’ of the camp on detainees:
… the feeling of despair that permeates these places, the general unhappiness and lack of activity, with detainees either lying on their beds in the middle of the day or wandering around aimlessly.
Similar evidence came to Human Right and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) officers following their visit to Woomera in January 2002. Dr Ozdowski (HREOC Commissioner) explained how the officers found four children were ‘exposed to a high level of violence and were denied basic levels of education’. He also said nine children has been at Woomera for more than a year and 70 more for more than six months, even though children should only be detained as a last resort and for a limited time under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Australia is a signatory. The officers also:
… found 24 children had harmed themselves, including one who slashed the word freedom on his forearm and another who tried to hang himself. A 12 year old girl told the officers: ‘I am getting crazy, I cut my hand. I can’t talk to my mother. I can’t talk to anyone and I’m very tired. There is no solution for me — I just have to commit suicide -– there is no choice’. A 16 year old boy said: ‘Some of us, we not have anyone in here. What can we do except kill ourselves? [Age, 7 February 2002]
There is evidence that children in immigration detention centres suffer physical, emotional and psychological harm. I refer to medical research that demonstrates how such children can become severely depressed and suicidal. There are children in camps who were previously severely traumatised and injured in their homeland and/or en-route to Australia. For these highly vulnerable children, the added injury compounds their problems and impedes recovery.
Given this, it is clear that child detainees are not protected; they are abused; suffer harm, and are likely to be significantly damaged as a direct result of their imprisonment. On this basis there appear to be grounds, according to the New South Wales, Victorian and Tasmanian legislation for intervention.
Child detainees regularly witness physical assaults and violations. Reports of the handcuffing and beatings of inmates at Port Hedland are not uncommon. Neither are accounts like the one where a father and his three-year-old son were isolated for 13 days in a cell where it took an hour to attract a guard’s attention so they could go to the toilet (Age, 19 June 2001).
Under normal rules of law, mandatory and indeterminate imprisonment for children who have not committed a crime, in surroundings like those that child detainees endure, would not constitute adequate care of a child. If parents in civil society imprisoned a child and denied them access to the outside world; if they regularly exposed children to distressing conditions; if they allowed children to live amongst depressed and suicidal adults, then most Australians would consider such adults derelict in their parental duties and the children in need of care and protection.
A raft of Australian legislation specifies the terms under which a child is held to be at risk of abuse and maltreatment.
In New South Wales a child is defined under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 as being in need of care if adequate provision is not made for the child’s care.
The Tasmanian Child Protection Act 1974 stipulates that a child may be placed under a child protection order if it appears to a magistrate that the child may have suffered abuse. Under the Child Protection Act 1986, a magistrate who is not in a position to decide whether there may be a substantial risk that the child may suffer abuse can make a temporary child protection order.
A child is taken to suffer abuse if by act or omission, intentionally or by default, any person neglects or interferes with the physical, nutritional, mental or emotional wellbeing of the child to such an extent that the child suffers, or is likely to suffer, psychological damage or impairment; or the emotional or intellectual development of the child is, or is likely to be, endangered; or the child fails to grow at a rate that would otherwise be regarded as normal for that child.
In the Northern Territory a child is in need of care if the child suffers maltreatment (Community Welfare Act 1983). For the purposes of this Act, maltreatment means the child suffered or is at a substantial risk of suffering physical injury and/or emotional or intellectual impairment.
Child detainees ‘suffer maltreatment’ and by virtue of their imprisonment are placed at high ‘risk of suffering physical injury causing temporary or permanent disfigurement or serious pain or impairment of a bodily function or the normal reserve or flexibility of bodily functions, inflicted or allowed to be inflicted by a parent, guardian or person having the custody of the child’. Young people aged 11, 14 and 17 years who are reportedly threatening suicide, are at risk of serious injury (lawyer, McDonald, Age, 29 January 2002).
Self-harm by children and harm to children perpetrated by others has included prolonged ‘hunger strikes’, sewing or stapling lips together, attempted suicide and deliberate poisoning all of which take place in detention camps, causing ‘serious pain’, impairment of bodily function and normal reserve of bodily flexibility’ (Age, 20 January 2002; Age, 21 January 2002; Age, 8 March 2002). In early 2002 the Age newspaper reported that ‘… three Afghan children had stitches removed and remained in hospital … suffering dehydration’ (Age, 21 January 2002; Age, 25 January 2002; Age, 26 January 2002) The next day it was reported:
… the 12 year old who collapsed yesterday was among a group of youths engaging in self-harm. One boy 15, drank detergent, a 19 year old beat himself with rocks and an 18 year old had slashed his chest … Another 8 people under 18 had drunk shampoo. [Age, 22 January 2002]
Michael Dudley, Chair of Suicide Prevention Australia, from the University of Western Sydney and Sarah Mares, Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Royal Australian New Zealand College of Psychiatry made the point that normally children who were in the care of a parent who exposed them to violence and did not ‘provide adequate education or a place for play and development would be removed from that situation and consideration given to prosecuting the guardian. This is the condition of the children in the detention centres (Age, 22 January 2002). As Katie Brosnan, former Port Hedland teacher reports; children are ‘exposed to people trying to commit suicide … to adults who are truly desperate in their need for freedom. Children seem to be exposed to just about everything’ (Channel 9, Sunday Program, 5 May 2002).
Other health specialists express similar concerns, drawing attention to internationally published evidence which indicates that prolonged detention of children is detrimental to mental and physical health.
The Western Australia Child Welfare Act 1947 defines a child in need of care and protection if living under such conditions, or found in such circumstances, or behaving in such a manner, as to indicate that their mental, physical or moral welfare is likely to be in jeopardy.
In the ACT, the Children’s Services Act 1986 states a child is in need of care and protection if:
has been physically injured (otherwise than by accident) or
has been sexually abused
by one of the child’s parents or by a member of the household in which the child lives, or there is a likelihood that he or she will so suffer physical injury or sexual abuse
by reason of the circumstances in which the child is living, has lived or is reasonable likely to live, or in which the child is found —
the health of the child, has been impaired, there is a likelihood that it will be impaired, or
the child has suffered, or is likely to suffer, psychological damage of such a kind that his or her emotional or intellectual development is, or will be endangered … [s.71]
The conditions in which many child detainees live impair their ‘health’ and ‘psychological well-being’ and damages their ‘emotional and intellectual development’. Injury results from living in prison conditions, from self-harm, and/or deliberate or unintentional harm caused by others (ie., from regular contact with other inmates who are, for example, severely depressed and/or suicidal).
Reports of children being assaulted by some Centre staff and the generally intimidatory environment means young detainees are ‘living under such conditions’ that ‘indicate that the mental, physical or moral welfare of the child is likely to be in jeopardy’. As medical specialists, one of whom was himself a detainee observed:
The detention environment, exposure to actions such as hunger strikes, demonstrations, episodes of self-harm and suicide attempts, and forcible-removal procedures, all impact on a child’s sense of security and stability … A wide range of psychological disturbances are commonly observed among children in the detention centre, including separation anxiety, disruptive conduct, nocturnal enuresis, sleep disturbances, nightmares and night terrors, sleep walking, and impaired cognitive development. At the most severe end of the spectrum, a number of children have displayed profound symptoms of psychological distress, including mutism, stereotypic behaviour, and refusal to eat or drink.
Children whose parents self-harm while in prison have their health and development placed at risk (ABC Regional News, 14 March 2002). ‘Children of parents who reach the tertiary depressive stage appear to be particularly vulnerable to developing a range of psychological disorders’. The trauma of separation from a parent in distressful conditions is likely to impair the wellbeing of the child. As the Age reported, some adults who self-harm are parents: ‘… the mother of a seven year old girl was admitted to the Adelaide Hospital in a critical condition after trying to hang herself’ (Age, 18 March 2002).
Given such evidence there appear to be reasonable grounds for intervention under child protection legislation.
Child detainees have been ‘physically injured (other than by accident)’ inside the detention centres. Moreover, ‘there is a likelihood that the child [in detention] will suffer physical injury’. ‘By reason of the circumstances in which the child is living, has lived’, [namely in detention], ‘the health of the child, has been’, and ‘is likely to be, impaired’. Furthermore, those children are ‘likely to suffer, psychological damage of such a kind that their emotional or intellectual development is, or will be endangered’.
In South Australia under the Children’s Protection Act 1993 an application may be made to the Youth Court when the Minister is of the opinion that the child is at risk and an order can be made for the child’s care and protection. For the purposes of the Act, a child is at risk if the child is of compulsory school age but has been persistently absent from school without satisfactory explanation.
In New South Wales a child is defined under the Children and Young persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 as being in need of care if adequate provision is not made for their care.
In Tasmania the Child Welfare Act 1960 includes in the definition of a neglected child one who ‘has not attained the age of 16 years and in respect of whom there have been at least 2 convictions under section 9 of the Education Act 1932, [and who] does not without lawful excuse, attend school regularly’.
The ACT the Children’s Services Act 1986 states that a child is in need of protection if required by law to attend school but persistently failing to do so and if the failure is likely to be harmful to the child.
According to former detention centre teaching staff, children in immigration detention centres over the age of 12 years do not attend school (Katy Brosnan, Elly Leaver, former teachers, Port Hedland, ABC Lateline, 10 April 2002; Age 11 July 2002). Given evidence that many child detainees have not had access to education they are ‘at risk’. This constitutes grounds for an order to secure the child’s protection.
Many detained children under the age of 16 years regularly fail to attend school (Age, 11 July 2002). Moreover, the quality of the education offered to those who do attend school is reportedly dubious. A former detention centre educationist explained, there was no syllabus, no accountability and in her opinion, ‘an absolute disgrace’ (Katy Brosnan, Lateline 10 April 2002; Age, 7 February 2002). Similar ‘insider’ reports come from Aamar Sultan, medical practitioner and former Villawood detainee:
… for most of the previous two years, there has been a general dearth of activities, resources, or educational material, leaving detainees [young and old] with long periods of unstructured time.
Parental responsibility and adequate supervision
In New South Wales a child is defined under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 as being in need of care if there is an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship between the child and one or more of the child’s parents.
In Victoria the Child and Young Persons Act 1989 indicates that a child is in need of protection if the child’s parent(s) have not provided for, arranged or allowed the provision of, or are unlikely to provide, arrange, or allow the provision of, basic care or effective medical, surgical or other remedial care.
In Queensland under ss.9 and 10 of the Child Protection Act 1999 a child is defined as being in need of protection if that child does not have a parent able and willing to protect the child from harm.
In South Australia under the Children’s Protection Act 1993 an application for an order may be made to the Youth Court if the guardians of the child are unable to maintain the child, or are unable to exercise adequate supervision and control over the child.
In the ACT the Children’s Services Act 1986 states that a child is in need of care and protection if:
the child is engaging in behaviour that is, or is likely to be, harmful to him or her and his or her parents or guardian are unable or unwilling to prevent the child from engaging in that behaviour;
there is no appropriate person to care for the child because
the child has been abandoned by his or her parents or guardian;
the child’s parents or guardian cannot, after reasonable enquiries have been made, be found;
or the child’s parents are dead and he or she has no guardian …
there is serious incompatibility between the child and one of his or her parents or between the child and his or her guardian …
In Northern Territory the Community Welfare Act 1983 states that a child is in need of care if not subject to effective control and engaging in conduct which constitutes a serious danger to their health and safety.
In Tasmania the Child Welfare Act 1960 states a child may be in need of care and protection, as a result of neglect or by being beyond the care or control of a parent with whom the child is living.
Much of this legislation suggests that children are in need of care when they are ‘beyond the care or control of the parent with whom the child is living’. The imprisonment of children, and in most cases their parents, by the Australian government often makes it impossible for parents of young detainees to parent adequately. Prison life prevents parents from attempting to put in place living conditions that benefit their children. It subverts parents’ attempts to build relationships with their children aimed at securing parental influence over the children. The capacity of parents to prevent their children from self-harming and to restrain or guide their conduct is limited by the conditions of living in a detention centre.
There is also the plight of unaccompanied minors. The policy of mandatory and indeterminate detention of children in conditions like those described means the Australian government as custodian of unaccompanied children ‘allows’ those children to ‘suffer’ various ‘injuries’ which ‘cause temporary and permanent disfigurement’ and impairment to the young inmates’ ‘bodily functions, flexibility’ and ‘normal reserve’. In civil society parents or guardians who permitted such suffering would be subject to child protection legislation.
Cases of self-harm also raise issues about the provision of adequate supervision. For parents of child detainees this goes to the question of the government denying or undermining their parental rights by incarcerating them in an environment that obstructs their capacity to fulfil their parental obligation of providing a healthy environment in which injuries including self-harm are unlikely. Thus, there are reasons for concern with the Northern Territory Community Welfare Act 1983. Children held in immigration detention centres are often not ‘subject to effective control and engage in conduct that constitutes a serious danger to their health’.
There is also the issue of unaccompanied minors who deliberately self-harm. This poses questions about whether the state acting in loco parentis has been negligent in providing adequate supervision and control of children in their care. (Pursuant to the Immigration (Guardianship of Children) Act 1946 (Cth), the Minister for Immigration Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs is the legal guardian of unaccompanied minors.) Given the incidence of self-harm by unaccompanied minors, there appear to be grounds under South Australian legislation for arguing that unaccompanied child detainees who self-harm be placed ‘in need of care and protection’ (Channel 9, Sunday Program, ‘The Trauma of Refugee Children’, 5 May 2002).
The prison conditions and status of child detainees are primary causes of the child’s ‘behaviour that is likely to be harmful’. Moreover, in cases where the state acts in loco parentis, the parent/state appears to be unwilling to prevent the child they are responsible for from engaging in harmful behaviour (ie., preventative measures, might involve removing them from the environment causing the self-harm).
Moreover, although the Minister for Immigration is guardian, he appears not to be proactive in considering unaccompanied minors for release on Bridging Visas which indicates a failure to act in the child’s best interest.
The ‘incompatibility’ between parents and children as outlined in the legislation raises issues about unaccompanied minors. In the case of these children the Australian government assumes a guardian role. When this takes place an ‘incompatibility’ exists between the child and government as prison keeper/guardian. The latter two roles are incongruous and incompatible.
There are grounds for arguing that an ‘irretrievable breakdown exists’ in the relationship between an unaccompanied child and the parent — namely, the Commonwealth government acting in loco parentis. The ‘incompatibility’ in the relationship is evident in the act of forcibly detaining unaccompanied children. There is also evidence of incompatibility when the guardian — the Australian government — fails to meet that child’s basic emotional and physical needs.
Australia’s practice of detaining unaccompanied child asylum seekers indicates at best a conflict of interest between those acting in loco parentis and the child, and at worst, an ‘irretrievable break down in the relationship’ between the two. According to the New South Wales Children and Young Persons (Care Protection) Act 1998 these are grounds for defining unaccompanied children in Australia’s immigration centres as ‘being in need of care’.
Holding unaccompanied minors in prison is not in their best interest. Moreover, there is a fiduciary relationship between the unaccompanied child and the Australian government. This relationship involves a duty to act in good faith towards the person for whom responsibility has been accepted in a way that confers benefit on that person. Such fiduciary obligations are inherent in the relationship between those acting in loco parentis and the child.
The fiduciary (ie., the state or its representatives) is obliged to act in the interests of the young person to the exclusion of the fiduciary’s own interest. People subject to this duty are not expected to profit from the relationship, or to put themselves in a position where the fiduciary obligation and personal interest may conflict. Fiduciary obligations operate with a recognition that the disadvantage or vulnerability of the weaker party causes that person to rely on the other and requires the protection of equity acting on the conscience of the other. Given the extreme vulnerability of unaccompanied child asylum seekers, the state has a duty to give high priority to their wellbeing.
Given the current legal and jurisdictional constraints operating, the arguments mounted here are primarily moral and have a theoretical status. State and territory child welfare authorities frequently claim they do not have the authority to enter detention centres for the purpose of monitoring child detainees. Legally and administratively this may be the case. It does not, however, detract from the proposition that the Commonwealth government is currently contravening numerous national, state and territory child welfare/protection laws.
Australia’s immigration detention centres provide an experience of isolation, the physical design features and austerity are more commonly found in high security prisons designed to house dangerous convicted criminals.
• Australia pursues a policy that means the indefinite detention of thousands of people.
• In late 2001 there were 582 children in immigration detention centres, 53 of them were unaccompanied. In July 2002, 150 children were in detention.
Australia has abrogated its international obligations recognised by numerous conventions to which Australia was a signatory. The mandatory detention of asylum seekers breaches Australia’s human rights obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Refugee Convention, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Australia’s international obligations, (as set out in those Conventions) compels Australia to comply with the conventions. When the government does not, we as a nation are in breach of international standards that our government agreed to uphold.
Such observations sit alongside documented evidence of child sexual abuse, maltreatment, self-harm, serious health and social pathologies among young detainees; and the provision of inadequate health, social and educational services for child and teenage detainees.
If any civil parent or guardian acted in the way the Australian government has towards children in immigration centres, they would be immediately subject to child care and protection orders. There are too many examples of the Australian government contravening its own legislation enacted to protect the wellbeing of vulnerable children and applied to all civil parents and guardians for that purpose. Thus we can see the principle of exceptionality applied to exempt the Australian government from regulations that apply to all others. It is action that is damaging to the young people concerned and offensive to Australians who identify themselves as members of a democratic and humane culture.
The Australian government’s self-exemption from the normative and legal restraints which ordinarily restrain absolute government power give cause for serious concern for citizens interested in justice and the wellbeing of one of the most vulnerable groups of children. Arguments for the suspension of law on the basis of the right to protect a nation state’s own existence is what facilitated the authority of regimes like the Third Reich and the establishment of concentration camps. On the grounds of ‘general national principles’ certain perversions of justice, as exceptions to normal rule, ought not be allowed.
Chris Goddard and Max Liddell hit the mark when they observed the hypocrisy of the situation.
It is surely impossible to imagine that any child protection service anywhere in the world would regard keeping a child behind razor wire in a desert as anything but emotionally abusive. It is not hard to imagine how history will judge the present circumstances of the children being held in … detention … (Age, 21 March 2002).
[*] Judith Bessant is Director of the Social Policy and Advocacy Research Centre at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne.
 Glover, S., Burns, J., Butler, Patton, G., ‘Social Environments and Emotional Wellbeing in Young People’, (1998) 49 Family Matters 11-16; Goddard, C., Child Abuse and Child Protection: A Guide for Health and Welfare Workers, Churchill Livingston, 1996; Steel, Z., Silove, D.M., ‘The Mental Health Implications of Detaining Asylum Seekers’, (2001) 175 Medical Journal of Australia 596-9; Public Health Association of Australia, Submission to HREOC National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention, 2002; Silove, D., ‘The Psychosocial Effects of Torture, Mass Human Rights Violations, and Refugee Trauma: Toward an Integrated Conceptual Framework’, (1999) 187 Journal of Nervous Mental Disorders 200-07; The Australian Psychological Society, Submission to HREOC National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention, 2002 (all submissions and background papers can be accessed at <http://www.humanrights. gov.au> .
 lood, P., A.O. Report of Inquiry into Immigration Detention Procedures, 2001, NSW Government; The Australian Psychological Society, above, ref 1; Amnesty International, 2001, ‘Defending children’s human rights: Children in immigration detention in Australia’, <http://www.amnesty.org.au/whatshappening/ hrd4-5.html> Amnesty International, ‘Refugee Children: The Unaccompanied Alien Child Protection Act’, 2001.
 Unicef Australia, United Nations Children’s Fund, Submission to HREOC National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention, 2002.
 Patton, G., ‘Meeting the Challenge of Adolescent Mental Health’, (1997) 166 Medical Journal of Australia 399-400.
 Resnick, M.D., Harris, L.J., and Blum, R.W., ‘The Impact of Caring and Connectedness on Adolescent Health and Well-being,’ (1993) 29 Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health 3-9; Oxford Refugee Centre, Understanding the Psychosocial Needs of Refugee Children and Adolescents: What do we Mean by Psychosocial? The Refugee Experience Website 2001, <http://earlybird.qeh.ox.ac.ukrfgexp/ rsp_tre/student/children/cld_02.htm> .
 The Australian Psychological Society, above, ref 1; Rousseau, C., Drapeau, A., and Corin, E., ‘Risk and Protective Factors in Central American and Southeast Asian Refugee Children’, (1998) 11(1) Journal of Refugee Studies 20-37.
 Baird, Bruce, MP, Hansard, 18 June 2001; Rogalla, B., (former Woomera Nurse), Submission to HREOC National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention, 2002
 Patton, G., Coffey, C., Carlin, J., Wolfe, R., Adolescent Depressive Disorders: A Population Based Study over Three Years, (2000) 318 British Medical Journal 765-8; Professional Alliance for the Health of Asylum Seekers and their Children, Submission to HREOC National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention, 2002; The Royal College of Nursing, Australia, Submission to the National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention, 2002.
 Commonwealth Ombudsman, Submission to HREOC National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention, 2002; Flood, P. above ref 2; Sultan, A. and O’Sullivan, K., ‘Psychological Disturbances in Asylum Seekers Held in Long Term Detention; a Participant-observer Account’, 2001 (175) Medical Journal of Australia 593-6.
 Flood, P. above ref 2.
 Sultan, A. and O’Sullivan, K., above, ref 9; Steel, Z., Silove, D.M., ref 1 above; Professional Alliance for the Health of Asylum Seekers and their Children, ref 8 above.
 Commonwealth Ombudsman, above, ref 9.
 Royal Australian College of Psychiatrists, media release, 17 August 2001; Rousseau, C., Drapeau, A., and Corin, E., above, ref 6.
 Steel, Z., Silove, D.M., ref 1 above; Sultan, A. and O’Sullivan, K., above, ref 9; The Royal College of Nursing, Australia, above, ref 8; The National Children’s and Youth Law Centre, 2002, Submission to the HREOC, National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention.
 ‘They [staff] — just kick the kids — they just want to insult us in any way’, Al-Hashimy, released Woomera inmate, Age, 8 February 2002.
 Sultan, A. and O’Sullivan, K., above, ref 9; Rogalla, B., above, ref 7.
 Rousseau, C., Drapeau, A., and Corin, E., above, ref 6; Professional Alliance for the Health of Asylum Seekers and their Children, ref 8 above.
 Sultan, A. and Os’Sullivan, K., above, ref 9.
 South Australian Department of Education, Training and Employment, Submission to National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention, 2002.
 Report of Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Age 7 February 2002 ‘…children under 13 received eight hours of classes a week and there was virtually no education for teenagers, a claim disputed by the Federal Government’; Australian Council of Deans of Education Incorporated, Submission to HREOC National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention, 2002.
 Sultan, A. and O’Sullivan, K., above, ref 9, p.593.
 Sultan, A. and O’Sullivan, K., above, ref 9; Public Health Association of Australia, above ref 1; Rogalla, B., above, ref 7.
 Amnesty International, above, ref 2.
 National Legal Aid, HREOC Submission to the National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention, 2002.
 Australia committed itself to provide protection to people applying for refugee status in Australia and who are recognised as refugees in accordance with the international definition in the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees (the Refugee Convention) and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.