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Organisations & Groups

Children Out of Detention (ChilOut)

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Why do we exist ?

We are a group of parents and citizens formed in 2001 to oppose the mandatory detention of children under 18 years in Australian immigration detention centres. Between 1992 and 2005, thousands of children and their parents were locked in remote desert facilities surrounded by razor wire fences in Australia and islands to Australia's north. Most of the children were from Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran and nearly all were found to be refugees. We are appalled that Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers continues to breach several human rights treaties to which we are a signatory, in particular the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Although there are no children behind razor wire at the moment, the policy of mandatory detention remains

What do we do ?

Monitoring the implementation of community detention

ChilOut will monitor how the new community detention arrangements are working for the families living under them.
Campaigning for all families to be reunited

There are still "split" families, where children may be out of detention but one parent isn't. An example is a mother in Villawood, with three dependent teenage children on Bridging Visa Es living in the community with their aunt.
Supporting families living in the community on Bridging Visas E

ChilOut will liaising with other agencies already established for this purpose specifically, such as the Bridge for Asylum Seekers Foundation.

Continuing to campaign to change the law on mandatory detention

Our legislation is still in breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Children are still being detained, albeit in the community, but there are no safeguards to prevent the razor wire or electric fencing being raised around the children again should circumstances alter.
Campaigning for a judicial commission into the conduct and operations of DIMIA

The Palmer report criticised DIMIA's “preoccupation with process and a culture of denial and defensiveness”, which was identified at all levels of management, including “consistent evidence of reluctance to [...] accept responsibility and acknowledge fault”. This is no way to run a department that is dealing with decisions that can have such tragic consequences.
Monitoring the longer term impacts of detention on the children

Recent research suggests that childhood trauma is a risk-factor for depressive and anxiety disorders in adulthood. What will the consequences of detention be for the children we have mistreated under our system of mandatory detention?