Detention of asylum seeker children ‘is child abuse’ say paediatricians

MANDATORY detention of very young asylum seekers is a form of child abuse, paediatricians believe.
A study of 139 paedicatricians revealed that 80 per cent agree with an Australian Medical Association statement that mandatory detention of children is a form of abuse.
However the study also found the majority know very little about asylum seeker processing.

The report, published in the Medical Journal of Australia today, interviewed 139 paediatricians to investigate the extent of their asylum seeker knowledge.
More than 100 doctors disapproved of offshore processing on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and about 70 per cent disagreed with the detention of children at all.
The authors say the report shows “considerable confusion” amongst doctors and recommends better training and education. “Most pediatricians surveyed used the correct terminology of asylum seeker rather than boat person or illegal immigrant,” the report states.
“However, we found serious gaps in knowledge in relation to Medicare eligibility.” It added: “Only about 60% knew that the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship was the legal guardian of detained unaccompanied minors.”
About 700 children remain in detention, including on Christmas Island and Nauru.
Last month, the government brokered a deal with the Palmer United Party to introduce temporary protection visas, opening the door for the release of about 400 children from Christmas Island. That followed plans to release 150 young asylum seeker children from onshore detention centres while they are processed.
However, any child who arrived after July 19 last year will be detained offshore as part of the government’s border protection policy.
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