ChilOut End of Financial Year Appeal

Despite Government promises to release all children from immigration detention this year, more than 200 children are still held in onshore and offshore immigration detention facilities.

The number of detained children has reduced but for those remaining in detention the situation is worse than ever.  The average time children are being held in detention in Australia is now 345 days and we know of one child who has been in detention for nearly 5 years. There are also over 800 children living in community detention who face an uncertain future. There are cases of anxiety, depression and self-harm among children.

This situation is unacceptable and a damming blight on Australia’s reputation as a responsible and caring nation. We know if we give these children ‘a fair go’ there is so much potential and opportunity.  Through our annual Youth Ambassadors Program we are already seeing the incredible contribution that children from refugee backgrounds can make. ChilOut’s former and current Youth Ambassadors have become prominent social advocates, have won community service awards and have undertaken university degrees in subjects including law, business, journalism and psychology.

The need for ChilOut to be a voice for all children in immigration detention remains as strong today as when we were founded in 2001.  With your help we have achieved much over the past year, including:

  • Launching our 2015 Youth Ambassador Program, with nine dedicated and impressive young people who are empowered to support children in detention and to be voices for change in the community;
  • Touring Australia with our Free the Children interactive cage installation to raise public awareness of the children in detention and their suffering;
  • Speaking out about the detrimental impact of child detention at schools, community forums, and to major media outlets including Network Ten, ABC, SBS, The Guardian, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Triple J Radio;
  • Making submissions to Government Inquiries and holding meetings with politicians from all political parties so that they better understand the impact of detention on children and are persuaded to change policies and laws to an end this harm.

None of this is possible without generous support from people like you. Every dollar you donate allows us to continue our work. All donations over $2 to ChilOut are tax deductible. As the financial year comes to end, please make a tax-deductible donation at:

We need your support to end child detention once and for all.


The Government's latest statistics, dated 31 May 2015, reveal that:

  • 138 children are held in immigration detention facilities within Australia;
  • 81 children are held in detention on Nauru;
  • 863 children are detained in the community under residence determinations, a system referrred to as community detention; and
  • 3,257 children are living in the community on bridging visas which mean their parents often have no work rights and very limited access to any Government support. 


ChilOut is a not-for-profit community group seeking to raise public awareness about the plight of children in immigration detention centres. We do so by providing accurate information showing what is happening to children inside Australia's immigration detention facilities. Our primary concern is the protection of children, that they are afforded their basic rights, freedom, healthcare, education and play. And that Australia does not have a hand in abusing and damaging children seeking our protection.

ChilOut relies on donations from the general public to operate and fight for the rights of children in immigration detention. As a registered charity, all donations greater than $2 made to ChilOut are tax deductible. To donate please visit our secure Donation page.


Whilst ChilOut welcomes the Government's promised release of many children from immigration detention, we are deeply disappointed by the new laws that were passed by the Australian Parliament in December 2014. These laws significantly curtail Australia’s obligations to asylum seekers and refugees and will have negative consequences for children and their families. We are also extremely disappointed that the Government's promised release of children does not include children in detention on Nauru. You can read ChilOut’s official statement on the new laws here.

ChilOut is being asked several questions about these new laws including:

  • What do the new laws mean for the release of children from detention? 
  • If the Minister has always had the power to release children from detention, why are we being told these new laws will mean that children are released?
  • How many children will be released and what will happen to them once released?
  • What about the children in detention on Nauru, will they be released?
  • Why does ChilOut believe the new laws will have negative consequences for children and their families?
  • What is so bad about Temporary Protection Visas and why is ChilOut opposed to them?
  • What will happen to children who arrive in Australia in the future seeking protection?

 For answers to all of these questions, please go to our New Legislation page.



ChilOut is:

  • Opposed to the indefinite, mandatory detention of children.
  • Opposed to the use of remote locations of detention for families and children for any length of time.
  • In favour of an independent guardian for unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Australia. The Minister with the power to detain children cannot also be the person appointed to act in their best interest.
  • Opposed to Temporary Protection Visas.
  • Going to continue to operate until there is federal legislation to ensure no child is detained in an Australian immigration detention centre (or any such renamed facility) for more than seven days.



ChilOut is supported by:

John Connolly & Partners

The Planet Wheeler Foundation for the 2015 ChilOut Youth Ambassadors Program

Office space provided by

Addison Road Community Centre 

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Dec 13, 2014