Statement from Dr Megan Chapman President VPA – Biloela Family

It is ironic that during Infant Mental Awareness Week that the Victorian Psychologists Association needs to call for the release from detention of a sick three year old child, her sister, and her parents.

Tharunicaa and Kopika Murugappan have spent their infancy and early childhood in immigration detention, in conditions that would be unrecognisable and unacceptable to Australians. Trauma has significant impacts on the health and well-being of young children. The research is unequivocal that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) occurring in early childhood have consequences for future mental and physical health outcomes.

It is time to prioritise the mental health of these children over politics. The Victorian Psychologists Association calls on the Murugappan family to be reunited, and released from immigration detention. These two Australian children need to come home to Biloela.

Dr Megan Chapman DPsych (Clinical) PhD MAPS FCCLP
President VPA

Megan is a Senior Clinical Psychologist and Coordinator, Infant Mental Health Team at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne

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