Main behind wire fence

Detention Rights Advocacy

The ASRC’s Detention Advocacy Manager, Sadaf leads a team of caseworkers (2 full-time equivalent) who currently support more than 400 clients in detention across Australia and s in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

DRAP’s casework services encompass providing emotional support to clients as well as information about the complexities of Australia’s policies, resettlement options to third countries, referrals to medical and legal services and other services who can provide advice and support and risk notification to the authorities to provide adequate care.

The DRAP team also work closely with community advocates and sector partners to campaign for the end of arbitrary detention and call for the closure of offshore and onshore detention. Working in partnership with the sector our DRAP team continues to have an important role in calling for the immediate release and resettlement of everyone in detention, so people can live in a safe environment and in a way that respects their human rights. 

In 2018-19 our detention program successfully aligned with sector partners to campaign and coordinate the safe removal of 109 children in detention on Nauru and helped establish the Medevac legislation which provided a clear pathway for people in offshore detention to receive urgent medical treatment in Australia. Of the 273 people approved under Medevac for urgent medical care in Australia, our DRAP team helped facilitate the transfer of approximately 200 people to Australia before the law was repealed in December 2019. Last year our advocacy work included visits to those people who were transferred under Medevac and held in Melbourne immigration detention, highlighting the additional risks posed by COVID-19 to all clients in detention. The DRAP team continues to advocate on behalf of those held in detention and is currently working in partnership with the sector to secure the immediate release and resettlement of everyone in onshore detention.

Onshore detention advocacy

We advocate directly to Australian Border Force about emerging issues in detention and help escalate complaints in order to hold detention authorities to account when they act in an abusive or unfair way.

Offshore detention advocacy

We provide support and assistance to people over the phone in Nauru and Papau New Guinea. Our work ranges from advocacy for medical treatment for people with serious and sometimes life-threatening illnesses, to providing legal support and connecting them to services that exist to support them in that environment. Often most importantly, we listen when they are afraid, and document what is happening to them in sometimes harmful environments.

Amplifying the voices of people with lived experience

Where it’s in the individual’s interest to do so, after obtaining legal advice, we support people seeking asylum to speak with the media safely, to make sure their voices are heard and the injustices affecting them become known. 

We seek to strengthen people’s voices for self-advocacy, and to be their voice when they need us to be.

If you would like to learn more about our detention advocacy work or are seeking a comment, please contact