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Returning baby Asha to Nauru is government sanctioned child abuse: AASW

Published: 23 February 2016


MEDIA RELEASE – 22.02.2016

Returning baby Asha to Nauru is government sanctioned child abuse: AASW

The Australian Association of Social Workers National President, Professor Karen Healy AM and CEO Glenys Wilkinson call on the Federal government to place baby Asha and her family in community detention until their refugee status has been determined and not return them to Nauru.

“Sending baby Asha, or any child, to Nauru is immoral and dangerous. Releasing baby Asha and her family into community detention is an important first step, but we are deeply disappointed in the government’s plan to eventually return them to offshore processing” Professor Healy said.

Ms Wilkinson added that “if the Government chooses to re-traumatise baby Asha and her family by returning them to Nauru, it will be sanctioning the very type of child abuse condemned during the Royal Commission.”

“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 like baby Asha offshore into an Australian government-funded institution which is known to have abusive practices,” said Ms Wilkinson.

Professor Healy says that the government appears to have learnt little from the Royal Commission.

“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 in Australia and provide them with the support they need to reduce the impact of trauma in their lives” said Professor Healy.

Professor Healy and Ms Wilkinson agreed that given the public outrage the time has clearly come for every child to be released from offshore processing.

The AASW represents over 9,000 professional social workers, many at the frontline of refugee and migrant welfare.

To organise an interview with Professor Karen Healy AM or AASW CEO, Glenys Wilkinson please contact Emma Pegrum, Media and Marketing Manager, on 02 6199 5011 or Sebastian Cordoba, Policy and Advocacy Officer, on 03 9320 1099

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers