Stop detaining child asylum seekers

DOCTORS have called for an immediate end to detaining child asylum seekers, warning it risks causing “severe and detrimental effects” to the children’s mental health and wellbeing.

With more than 1000 children under the age of 18 currently held in immigration detention on the Australian mainland and Christmas Island, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has demanded their release into the community be made a priority. 

The college has warned prolonged detention in isolated locations, poor access to health and social services, and uncertainty of asylum seeker claims “can have severe and detrimental effects on health and psychosocial wellbeing”. 

This was especially the case in children who had experienced torture or trauma, which, when combined with an average processing time for children of typically around 6–12 months, put them at even higher risk, the college said.