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Showing posts from March, 2015

Tackling domestic violence, support services are critical

Annie's husband beat her up often. He raped her as well. She was an unfit mother. Useless. He told her so.

They had once been in love. Sometimes he was gentle and sweet but at other times he was a maniac, cursing and whipping wildly. "There was lots of alcohol, lots of drug abuse," she told me, almost whispering. 

Time sped. Together they had six daughters, all beautiful and healthy. One day Annie* decided that she couldn't pretend any more. She would take herself and the kids away from that life. But how?

She was at risk of serious injury to both herself and the children if she left. The fear of violence was itself a powerful weapon. "He'd always take one of the girls with him all the time. 

"He knew by doing that he had a pawn to play. It was about control." 

There was another problem. Her husband was the bread winner. She worried about homelessness, hunger, the humiliation. 

One day a female police officer told her about an emergency accommodati…

Children in detention report is compulsory reading

One of the few Canberra residents allowed to visit asylum seekers on Nauru was approached by an eight-year-old girl last year. In a small voice the child asked: "Why am I in prison?"

She and her parents had been locked up on Christmas Island for nine months before being moved to Nauru where they had been for more than a year. They had been locked up for a total of two years. "Who can explain this to me?" she asked. 

Our government used to claim that its asylum seeker procedures harmed children unintentionally. Not any more.
After the release of the Human Rights Commission's Forgotten Children report last month the Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, told the ABC that while he could release all the children who were locked up, if he did "let me tell you, the boats start up again, the detention centres will be reoccupied and that is not something that we are going to tolerate".

It was a telling statement. 

Just as telling was the admission by the Senate…