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Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in Detention Centres

December 5, 2000 ·  , ECPAT-USA

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Published in ECPAT-USA news
(December 2000)

Claims of child sexual abuse and child rape in the South Australia Woomera Detention Centre, detaining illegal immigrants, continue to surface. Allegations include that a 12 year-old boy was sold for sex by his father to other refugee detainees in return for cigarettes. The father is also accused of raping his son in February or March 2000. A former nurse at the privately run centre alleges the abuse was not investigated and was covered up. The child was not examined in hospital and the case was not referred to any external agency. Staff claim sexual assault allegations are not being effectively dealt with. There is a widely held opinion amongst nursing staff that sexual assault on minors was occurring regularly amongst the detainee community. There are currently over 230 children in immigration detention centres and more than 800 were held in the past year.

In the face of continuing allegations and new information, a Federal Inquiry has been launched into the child sexual abuse allegations. The inquiry will investigate child sexual abuse reporting procedures at Woomera and the manner in,,which they were applied in the past 12 months. The boy at the centre of the allegations has now been removed from the detention centre, 8 months after the alleged abuse took place.

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