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2,000 Reports Detailing Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Have Leaked From Nauru

The documents, secured by "The Guardian," are the biggest ever leak from Australia's Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

by VICE Staff
09 August 2016, 10:56pm

This article contains reports of self harm, which may be confronting for some people.

In what is allegedly the largest ever leak from Australia's Department of Immigration and Border Protection, more than 2,000 incident reports have been secured from inside the Nauru detention centre. The files, obtained by The Guardian, lay out in stark detail the scale of abuse within the camp.

In more than half of the incident reports, children are involved. According to The Guardian the files contain, "seven reports of sexual assault of children, 59 reports of assault on children, 30 of self harm involving children, and 159 of threatened self harm involving children."

In one incident from January 2015, a young boy reported that Wilson Security guard has sexually assaulted him in a car. "One Nauruan officer had put his hand up [the boy's] shorts and was 'playing with his bottom'" while the guards transported the young boy and his father from one part of the camp to another.

Another report recounts how a Wilson Security guard assaulted an underage boy in September 2015. The guard "grabbed him around the throat and hit his head against the ground twice."

All up the documents, covering the period between March 2013 and October 2015, report 1,086 incidents occurring inside the camp, which holds 543 people seeking asylum in Australia. As of November 2015, 70 of these detainees were children.

Although abuse inside Nauru, as well as the Manus Island Detention Centre, has been reported before, this leak is the first time the incidents have been collated together—painting a picture of widespread abuse, danger to children, and self-harm.

In September 2015, case workers from Save the Children checked on a woman who'd been refusing food and water for two days. They visited her in her tent and asked if she wasn't eating because she was unwell. "No one cares," she told them. "There's no point." The woman was more than 30 weeks pregnant at the time.

The incidence of self harm within the documents is also staggering. There are reports of asylum seekers swallowing rocks, slashing their wrists with sharp objects, burning themselves with cigarettes, and attempting to hang themselves from the beam of their tents.

In one particularly shocking incident, a Save the Children teacher was supervising three students when an asylum seeker walked into the classroom. "They reached up and took down a bottle of cleaning fluid from the top of a cupboard where it had been stored," the report reads. Although the teacher tried to stop them, the male asylum seeker managed to drink a cup full of the cleaning solution before the bottle was knocked from his hands.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection are yet to comment on the leak.

You can view all of the Nauru files here.