It has been reported that the 23-year-old Iranian victim has been flown to Australia for treatment three months after the attack. Her family said she had been on a hunger strike at Nauru after the incident, and attempted suicide twice, including by drinking insecticide.It comes as Immigration Peter Dutton said on Thursday asylum seekers should be “treated with respect and dignity”. Despite doubts over the competency of Nauru police, Mr Dutton said complaints about asylum seekers being mistreated at the island should be referred to that agency.
It is understood the anonymous submission to the Senate inquiry was made by a former detention centre worker.
It correlates with earlier claims by the victim, who said she was attacked by a man while on day release and forced to give oral sex for more than an hour as the assailant bit her breasts and shoulders.
The former detention centre employee said another woman found the victim running down a road partially clothed. The source said police were called and, after initially going to the wrong location, arrived and put the woman in the back of a police vehicle.
“Police then stopped on the way back to the station to watch a fireworks display for 45 [minutes] … with a distraught, half-naked sexual assault victim” in the vehicle, the submission said.
Despite the woman having bruises and bite marks on her back and shoulder, Nauru police believed she had “made the whole thing up”, the evidence said.
While the police eventually conceded the attack may have occurred, they insisted a fellow refugee, rather than a local, was responsible, the submission alleged.
The source said the Nauruan government feared that if a local was implicated, the incident may be “used as political leverage” by opponents of the detention camp.
The former employee said the police investigation did not progress and Nauru police do not have the capacity to properly interview or forensically examine a sexual assault victim.
A spokesman for the Nauruan government said it would not respond to “scurrilous and anonymous accusations against its police force”.
“These claims are completely wrong and are rejected outright,” the spokesman said, adding the initial police statement was based on information known at the time.
“This investigation is ongoing, however,” he said. “Unfortunately, the victim has not been co-operating with police making the investigation more difficult.
“The Nauru Police Force is made up of highly competent men and women who are trained for investigations such as this.”