Sadness and fear: The experiences of children and families in remote Australian immigration detention

Sarah Mares, Karen Zwi

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


    In March 2014 we spent a week on Christmas Island as consultants to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) Inquiry into the Impact of Immigration Detention on Children. We were accompanied by three AHRC staff. We had extensive access to detained families and children and conducted semi-structured and informal interviews with 230 people as individuals or in family or other groups. We met with staff of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and ‘service providers’ including Serco, the multinational corporation that runs the detention facilities, International Health and Medical Service (IHMS) and the non-governmental organisation providing activities for unaccompanied children (Maximus). DIBP staff were present at all meetings except those with detainees. We used official interpreters for the majority of interviews but occasionally used other asylum seekers, including children to translate. The AHRC provided two debriefing sessions following our return. A report, ‘The Forgotten Children: National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention’ was released by the AHRC to the Australian Government in November 2014, with public release in March 2015. In a separate paper, we focus on the unaccompanied children and younpeople detained in Immigration facilities on Christmas Island.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)663-669
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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