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High Court ruling highlights irony of government sanctioned child abuse

Published: 10 February 2016

There is no justifying sending children into danger, says National President of the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW), Professor Karen Healy, whose voice today joined many around Australia concerned about the prospect of returning young asylum seekers and their families to the abuses of Nauru after last week’s High Court ruling.

The AASW represents over 9,000 professional social workers, many at the frontline of refugee and migrant welfare and Professor Healy was named as a Member of the Order of Australia this year for her contributions to social work, particularly in the areas of child protection, higher education and research.

“Our government on the one hand is justifying spending millions of dollars on a Royal Commission into child abuse in Australian institutions and, on the other, sending children offshore into an Australian government-funded institution which is known to have abusive practices,” said National President, Professor Karen Healy AM.

“There is no justifying this decision,” said Professor Healy. “As many independent investigations and reports attest, it is immoral and dangerous.

“If the Government chooses to re-traumatise these children and their families by returning them to Nauru it will be sanctioning the very type of child abuse it condemned during the Royal Commission.”

Until now, the government and the Australian community have shown no tolerance for authorities that allow children to be knowingly placed in danger, Professor Healy says.

”It is time for the Prime Minister to make the right decision to keep these children safe, and that is to keep them and their families safe in Australia and provide them with the support they need to reduce the impact of trauma in their lives,” Professor Healy said.

To organise an interview with Professor Karen Healy please contact Emma Pegrum, Media and Marketing Manager, on 02 6199 5011 or 0408 200 191

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers