Police on Nauru have charged an unnamed person for the indecent assault of a six-year-old child held in Australia's care.
The Guardian exclusively reports that this is seemingly the first case of alleged abuse that an asylum seeker has made that has gone to Naura's courts. The incident occurred last year in October when the asylum seeker was just six years old.
Both the identity of the perpetrator and the victim have been suppressed by the courts, with the victim being referred to as MU.
Medical and welfare staff on Nauru, provided by Australia, have outlined the horrific effects of the incident on the girl.
“M is a six-year-old girl who had been exposed to adverse life events such as parental separation, migration, prolonged detention and alleged sexual abuse,” the staff wrote.
“As a consequence M now presents with emotional and behavioural disturbances such as anxiety, night terrors and social isolation.”
In reaction to The Guardian publishing 'The Nauru files', which revealed the extent of abuse of children on Nauru, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton suggested that asylum seekers might have made up false claims of abuse to improve their chances of making it to Australia. He outlined that he "won't tolerate any sexual abuse whatsoever".
There has been some argument over whether the victim should give evidence in court. Medical and welfare staff are concerned that being cross-examined by the defence in court would increase 'her subjective stress and trauma'. However Magistrate Emma Garo believes her evidence can still be taken in by the court, but in a 'less stressful and less imposing environment'.
This news of the charges comes soon after ABC News reported that Malcolm Turnbull announced that the Federal Government will move to ban refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru from ever coming to Australia. The laws would affect adults who tried to seek asylum in Australia by boat from mid-July 2013 onwards.
"This will send the strongest possible signal to the people smugglers ... It is incredibly important that we send the clearest message," Mr Turnbull said in a press conference yesterday.
"They must know that the door to Australia is closed to those who seek to come here by boat with a people smuggler. It is closed.
"Those passengers will never settle in this country."