Press Release October 1 2015



1st October 2015

PDF // Press Release 01/10/2015

Violence against women organisations join refugee advocates in call for detention centres closedown

Significant Australian violence prevention organisations have called on the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to shut down Australia’s Manus Island and Nauru detention centres.

In an open letter to Prime Minister Turnbull, the Out of Sight NOT Out of Mind campaign initiated by Researchers Against Pacific Black Sites points to the ‘systemic and structural nature of the conditions that generate violence against women, children, gay men and families’ in offshore detention as ‘the outcome of Australian’s policy of ‘deterrence.’

The letter has been signed by over a thousand organisations and individuals, including the Australian Women Against Violence Alliance, Victorian Forum of Centres Against Sexual Assault, the Luke Batty Foundation, state and national peak bodies for community legal centres, ACOSS, Immigrant Women Speakout and Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria.

The letter states:

‘Feminists, women’s groups and others working against violence against women, children and LGBTIQ peoples all too often work in isolation from refugees and their supporters. We want this separation to end.’

Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty is also quoted in the letter: ‘Those of us who care about violence against women, children and other vulnerable people at home need to care about what happens to these same people elsewhere who are under our care.’

The united stand by some of Australia’s most respected social organisations is an indication of the growing public revulsion at the violence and trauma to asylum seekers reported on Nauru and PNG.

Professor Suvendrini Perera for Researchers Against Pacific Black Sites said: ‘Recent events show that the line between “deterrence” and the systemic infliction of violence and trauma on detained people is thoroughly blurred. Our government has recently condemned violence against women domestically, but if is truly committed, it should act to the end the same kinds of violence being perpetrated in Australia’s name abroad.’

Contacts: RAPBS Spokeswomen: Professor Suvendrini Perera, Curtin University: 0409 747 200 & Janet Galbraith 0418 399 646;
Senior Policy Advisor Federation of Community Legal Centres Dr Chris Atmore: 0425 796 434
Trauma Specialist : Dr Helen Driscoll MBBS FRANZC c/ RAPBS 0418 399 646