Villawood 12c - The Failure of Systems


The Failure of Systems


The systemic failure to care for people in immigration detention is evidenced by the case of Ahmed Al-Akabi. It is evidenced by the lack of communication and coordination within International Health and Medical Services (IHMS); by the failure to implement SASH procedures; by the fact that SASH procedures were repeatedly criticised by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and may not have proved effective even if implemented; and by the fact that countless people have died in the custody of the Immigration Department in comparable circumstances.

‘The provided documents demonstrate an absence of recommended and mandated screening for mental health issues in people in immigration detention as required by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. This is especially noteworthy in the initial health and induction assessment at day 7 and following delivery of negative decisions and bad news, namely the death of his sister and her two children.’

Professor Suresh Sundram (consultant psychiatrist)


An artwork painted in Villawood IDC using coffee. It shows a fence topped with barbed wire on the left, the sun shining in the middle while three birds fly over the fence toward the sky.

[imagecaption] Alwy Fadhel, ‘Over the Fence’, coffee on paper[/imagecaption]

‘Obviously whenever anybody is told that their application has been rejected that is very distressing for them and it creates tensions. The Department and Serco do have in place mental health programs and they do take particular notice when somebody has been told that their application has been rejected and that case is extended to an even greater degree.’

Chris Bowen (Former Minister for Immigration), 2010



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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are respectfully advised that this website contains images of and references to deceased persons.

All viewers are respectfully advised that the site contains images of and references to the deaths in custody of Indigenous peoples, Black people and refugees that may cause distress.