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The health of children in Australian immigration detention centres: an analysis of the quarterly health reports from 2014-2017

The health of children in Australian immigration detention centres: an analysis of the quarterly health reports from 2014-2017

Essex, Ryan ORCID: 0000-0003-3497-3137, Kalocsanyiova, Erika ORCID: 0000-0002-3535-1084, Scott, James and Pacella, Rosana ORCID: 0000-0002-9742-1957 (2022) The health of children in Australian immigration detention centres: an analysis of the quarterly health reports from 2014-2017. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health. ISSN 1034-4810 (Print), 1440-1754 (Online) (In Press) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/jpc.15880)

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Abstract

Aim
This study examines 3 years of child and adolescent health data from Australian onshore and offshore immigration detention centres from 2014 to 2017, quantifying the health presentation data of children and adolescents in Australian immigration detention and comparing rates between onshore and offshore detention.

Methods
This study utilised the Quarterly Immigration Detention Health Reports over a period of 3 years. To compare onshore and offshore datasets, we calculated the rate of health events per quarter against the estimated quarterly onshore and offshore detention population of children. We ran a series of two-proportion z-tests for each matched quarter to calculate median z and P values for all quarters. These were used as an indicator as to whether the observed differences between onshore and offshore events were statistically significant.

Results
The estimated number of children detained per quarter onshore ranged from 700 in 2014 (quarter 3) to 13 in 2016 (quarters 3 and 4); the estimated quarterly population of children in offshore detention ranged from 186 in 2014 (quarter 3) to 42 in 2017 (quarter 2). Children offshore had significantly higher rates of consultations with a mental health nurse (z = −1.96; P = 0.002), psychologist (z = −2.32; P = 0.01) and counsellor (z = −3.41; P < 0.001). As for reasons for presentation to general practitioners and psychiatrists, complaints related to skin (z = −1.97; P = 0.05), respiratory issues (z = −1.96; P = 0.05) and urological issues (z = −2.21; P = 0.03) were significantly higher amongst children detained offshore.

Conclusions
Compared to children in the Australian community, children detained both onshore and offshore had greater health needs. Children offshore also presented more frequently with a range of complaints and accessed health services at higher rates than children detained onshore; this adds to growing evidence about the harms of offshore detention and detention more generally.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: refugees, asylum seekers, immigration detention, health, human rights
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Institute for Lifecourse Development
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Institute for Lifecourse Development > Centre for Inequalities
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Institute for Lifecourse Development > Centre for Mental Health
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Institute for Lifecourse Development > Centre for Professional Workforce Development
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Health Sciences (HEA)
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2022 11:01
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/34631

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