Refugee Council of Australia
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Statistics on people in detention in Australia

Children in detention

Children in closed detention are generally held in Immigration Transit Accommodation or Alternative Places of Detention. According to the Department of Home Affairs, as of 30 June 2023, there are no children in closed detention.

Over years, there have been examples of children being held in Immigration Detention Centres as well. In April 2013, 31 children were placed in Northern IDC in Darwin. In July 2014, 157 Sri Lankan people seeking asylum by boat were detained on an Australian customs vessel for four weeks. People in this group, including 50 children as young as one, were detained in Curtin detention centre in WA before being transferred to Nauru.

The below graph shows the number of children in closed detention (broken down by immigration detention centres compared to other detention facilities like transit accommodation and APODs), as well as the number living in community detention and on a bridging visa. Note that the 50 children referred above are not included in the graph as they were not included in the monthly detention statistics published by the Department of Immigration.

The following graph shows the number of children detained in the past five years. Note that this differs from the previous graph, which reports only children detained at a point in time (at the end of the month). As noted in this graph, most children since 2020 are detained for short periods so are unlikely to be captured in the monthly reporting.

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