Impact of Detention on the Social–Emotional Wellbeing of Children Seeking Asylum

There is a remarkable convergence in the findings of published studies in identifying a consistent profile of risk factors for poor health and wellbeing outcomes for refugee children. Reducing the time held in immigration detention centres may be one of the risk factors most amenable to public health interventions, particularly in reception countries of the west.

The current system in Australia is that 13,000–20,000 refugees each year are resettled in the community after the processing of their protection claims by the United Nations overseas. However, asylum seekers who have not had their claims processed on arrival in Australia and who arrive by boat are routinely subject to mandatory detention, off-shore processing in remote islands and denial of permanent protection, family reunification or resettlement in Australia.This is an issue of global concern since the detention of children is not confined to Australia, with the practice being applied in more than 60 countries worldwide across the spectrum of high and low income nations.

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This post (3rd March 2018) is an extract from this recently published journal article by Karen Zwi, Sarah Mares, Dania Nathanson, Alvin Kuowei Tay, and Derrick Silove.

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