Press Release 23 October 2015


Psychiatrist says:

’To Return Nazanin to Nauru is like putting band aids on victims of domestic violence’

MEDIA RELEASE: 23rd October 2015

RAPBS is concerned to hear that Nazanin is to be moved from the Brisbane hospital she has been in since August, to the Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation (BITA). We understand this to be the first step in IHMS and DIBP’s plan to return Nazanin to the place of her assault, Nauru.

The news of Nazanin’s imminent move to BITA has come on top of yesterday’s raid of Save The Children offices and search of their personnel after after Wednesday’s ABC Lateline report detailing the plight of Nazanin and her family.

Trauma specialist and psychiatrist Dr Helen Driscoll says: ‘One of the profound imperatives in trauma care is to not send the victim back into the place from whence they have come without substantial change. To return Nazanin to Nauru is like putting band aids on victims of domestic violence, then taking them back under escort to the abusive house and keeping them there!’

Doctors at the RCH and other hospitals have taken a stand against returning children to detention.

As Rosie Batty, Australian of the Year, states in our Open Letter To PM Turnbull: ‘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 Australian government funds the offshore detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island. The centres are, by their very design, unsafe and dangerous places.

These centres cannot be patched up. They must be shut down. The people forcibly held there are those who sought protection in this country. They deserve care, not punishment. Out of sight is not out of mind!’

RAPBS calls on doctors and health professionals to join with the doctors of RCH and extend their ban to encompass the return of all patients to the centres, especially those who have been raped, sexually assaulted or victimised within Australia’s detention system on-shore and off-shore.

RAPBS calls on the Minister for Immigration to attend to the care of Nazanin and her family and urges urging in the strongest possible terms that the Minister heed Melissa Parkes MP, and ‘consider reuniting Nazanin with her mother and brother through appropriate humanitarian resettlement in Australia’.

RAPBS also calls for independent assessment of victims of physical, psychological and sexual abuse because, as Dr Driscoll states, ‘there is imperative need for independent clinical assessment for advocacy because the doctors in the hospitals cannot attend to the aetiology of the patients condition’.

RAPBS media contacts: Dr Helen Driscoll 0403 364 486; Professor Suvendrini Perera 0409 747 200.