Doctors attack immigration department over Nauru and Manus Island medical cases

SMH, 6 November 2016
Author: Michael Koziol
“The Australian Medical Association has detailed shocking cases of apparent medical neglect, wasting and severe ill-health among asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru, and accused immigration bureaucrats of failing to adequately follow up cases.”
Find article here.

Human Trafficking: The Role of Medicine in Interrupting the Cycle of Abuse and Violence

Ann Intern Med. 2016;165(8):582-588.
Author: Wendy Macias-Konstantopoulos
“Human trafficking, a form of modern slavery, is an egregious violation of human rights with profound personal and public health implications. It includes forced labor and sexual exploitation of both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens and has been reported in all 50 states. Victims of human trafficking are currently among the most abused and disenfranchised persons in society, and they face a wide range of negative health outcomes resulting from their subjugation and exploitation. Medicine has an important role to play in mitigating the devastating effects of human trafficking on individuals and society.”
Find abstract here.

Our safety counts: children and young people’s perceptions of safety and institutional responses to their safety concerns

Institute of Child Protection Studies (ACU), online 7 September 2016
Authors: Tim Moore, Morag McArthur, Jessica Heerde, Steven Roche, Patrick O’Leary
“Over the past three years, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has explored the extent to which children and young people have been exposed to child sexual abuse, and considered some of the reasons why institutions have failed to actively prevent child sexual abuse and appropriately respond when children and young people have been harmed. Similar inquiries have consistently found that institutions have failed to appreciate children and young people’s views and experiences.  …This  study attempts  to  better understand children and young people’s perceptions of safety within institutions, and their views on how adults and institutions are responding to their safety needs.”
Find report here (PDF).

US woman freed after court overturns 20 year sentence for causing death of her unborn baby

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i4861
Author: Owen Dyer
“A US woman, Purvi Patel, sentenced last year to 20 years in prison for using abortion drugs procured on the internet to end her pregnancy, has been freed after a court sentenced her to time already served on a lesser charge of neglect of a dependant.”
Find article here.

NT royal commission is the cost of failing to meet international standards on torture

The Conversation, 6 September 2016
Author: Adam Fletcher
“The ABC’s 7.30 program recently confirmed that harsh, and possibly illegal, treatment of young detainees in Australia is not confined to the Northern Territory when it broadcast images of alleged abuse in a centre in Townsville. Evidence of inappropriate treatment from a centre in Tasmania has also come to light.”
Find article here.

Australia’s torture of asylum seekers

BMJ 2016;354:i4606
Author: David Berger
“The Guardian newspaper’s publication of 8000 leaked pages alleging horrendous abuse and appalling conditions for detainees at Australia’s immigration detention centre on the Pacific island of Nauru has again brought Australia’s treatment of indefinitely imprisoned asylum seekers into sharp public focus. The so-called Nauru files, published on 10 August, describe alleged assaults, sexual abuse, self harm attempts, and child abuse. The Guardian’s analysis showed 51.3% of the 2116 reports involve children, although children were only about 18% of those in detention at the time.”
Find abstract here.

Australian medical leaders call for urgent action on reports of abuse of immigrant detainees

BMJ 2016;354:i4454
Author: Michael Woodhead
“Leaked reports of horrific conditions and widespread abuse of asylum seekers in an Australian immigration detention centre have prompted calls from medical groups to open up the camps to independent oversight. Michael Gannon, president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), said that the government needed to respond urgently to the 2000 incident reports compiled by staff of the Nauru offshore processing centre that showed that detainees, including women and children, were experiencing abuse, trauma, self harm, sexual assault, inadequate health services, and deplorable living conditions.”
Find article here.

More than third of sexual assaults, homicides linked to domestic violence, ABS data shows

ABC News online 13 July 2016
Author: Dan Oakes
“More than a third of sexual assaults and homicides recorded in Australia last year were domestic violence-related, according to new figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).  The 2015 crime statistics also show that there were 21,380 victims of sexual assault across the country, a rise of 3 per cent on the previous year, and a six year high.”
Find article here and ABS report here.

New strategies to end violence against children

World Health Organisation, statement 12 July 2016
“WHO and partners today launch 7 interlinked strategies to reduce violence against children. The approaches have all been tested and all have shown concrete results. By bringing them together, WHO hopes to dramatically reduce instances of violence against children. Over the past year, up to 1 billion children have experienced physical, sexual or psychological violence, according to a recent study published in “Pediatrics”. Homicide is among the top 5 causes of death for adolescents. 1 in 4 children suffer physical abuse, and nearly 1 in 5 girls are sexually abused at least once in their lives.”
Find statement and further information here.

Is Australia engaged in torturing asylum seekers? A cautionary tale for Europe

J Med Ethics doi:10.1136/medethics-2015-103326
Authors: John-Paul Sanggaran, Deborah Zion
“Australian immigration detention has been identified as perpetuating ongoing human rights violations. Concern has been heightened by the assessment of clinicians involved and by the United Nations that this treatment may in fact constitute torture. We discuss the allegations of torture within immigration detention, and the reasons why healthcare providers have an ethical duty to report them. Finally, we will discuss the protective power of ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment as a means of providing transparency and ethical guidance.”
Find abstract here.