CHILDREN are slashing their wrists, arms and bodies with razor blades inside immigration detention facilities, despite child psychiatrists issuing repeated warnings of the dangers of locking them up.
A nine-year-old boy - the youngest child known to self harm during a 16-month period - overdosed on 10 Panadeine tablets. He told an interpreter he was aware of the potential harm.
Documents released to asylum-seeker advocates said 26 self-harm incidents involving children at Darwin's two detention facilities occurred between August 2010 and November 2011.
These included a 17-year-old boy who tried to hang himself and another 17-year-old who bashed his head against a metal pole after hearing a case review had failed.
The documents said staff of the detention-service provider, Serco, were unqualified to judge if the incidents were attempted suicides or self harm, and so all were listed as self harm.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship said there had been a ''significant decrease'' in self-harm incidents, but a spokeswoman was unable to say by what proportion incidents had decreased.
The chairwoman of the health group advising the government, Louise Newman, said the incidents were ''entirely predictable''.
Anyone seeking support can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.