Refugee Council of Australia
Children with backs towards camera and arms crossed in front of fence

Australia’s man-made crisis on Nauru

Breaking women

Breaking women

For years, there have been tragic accounts of rape and sexual abuse of females in Nauru, including by those paid to protect them. The accounts have come from people who lived through these experiences or who witnessed them, and have been reported in multiple official reports.

Column chart showign number of people transferred for reasons of pregnancyAt least 24 women have been flown to Australia to terminate pregnancies, many of them as a result of rape.

There have been numerous reports of sexual assault, physical assault, and sexual harassment. In the centre, women were offered longer showers if they allowed guards to watch them shower and were offered marijuana or cigarettes in return for other sexual favours. Their tents had no locks, making it easy for guards to abuse their power and making it impossible for them to be safe.

Women have often said they feel safer in detention than in the community, where they are subject to racist abuse, casual sexual harassment and worse. Even in the detention environment, women have been raped, sexually assaulted and harassed by security officers and other staff members paid by the Australian government. The ASRC has records and can provide evidence of these allegations.

All the accounts concur that such incidents are not reported to the police and, even if they are, there has never been any further action. There have also been reports of police misconduct, including ripping up witness statements, and coercing signatures on witness statements. The ASRC has records of allegations of physical and sexual abuse by police.

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