Reports that immigration detention is causing mental illness in children and leading them to self-harm has prompted major South Australian non-profit organisation, Uniting Communities, to offer to work with the Australian Government to help take all children out of detention.

The Australian Human Rights Commission Report, The Forgotten Children, has found that 34% of children in detention have serious mental illnesses, and many children are being assaulted or are harming themselves out of desperation.

‘This is a national disgrace and we must work together to get every child out of detention,’ says Uniting Communities’ Chief Executive, Simon Schrapel. ‘The Government has been steadily releasing children from immigration detention over the last few months – it is time to finish off the job and bring the remaining 330 children to safety.

‘I’ll be writing to Minister Dutton today to offer to mobilise all of our church and community networks to achieve this. I’ll also be asking the State Government to examine how it could support the community in making these children safe,’ says Mr Schrapel.

To help find a speedy solution, Uniting Communities will work with its extensive networks to mobilise a community response to helping accommodate and provide support for those children and families coming out of detention.

‘We don’t underestimate the effort that will be required to facilitate a successful transition of children and families in the community, but we know that the enormous level of goodwill in our community to find a humanitarian solution can be harnessed to this end,’ Mr Schrapel says.

For information and comment:
Simon Schrapel, Chief Executive Uniting Communities
0411 643 132