We invite you to take part in a study of volunteer experiences in Australian immigration detention facilities. This study builds on and extends previous research conducted by Michelle Peterie at the University of Sydney.

The purpose of this webpage is to provide you with detailed information about this study, so that you can decide if you would like to take part.


Who is conducting the research?

The study is being conducted by Dr Michelle Peterie, who is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Queensland
You can contact Michelle via email (, phone (0416 460 423) or through this website.

What is the research about?

This study concerns the experiences of volunteers who visit refugees and asylum seekers in Australian immigration detention facilities. We want to understand what visiting immigration detention facilities involves for community volunteers, what visitors experience within these detention spaces, if and how the detention system has changed in recent years, and how individuals manage the emotional challenges associated with visiting detention.

Who can participate?

You are invited to participate in this study if you are at least 18-years-old, and visit refugees and/or asylum seekers in Australian immigration detention facilities.

What will the research involve?

We would like to interview you about your experiences visiting Australian immigration detention facilities. Your interview will take 45-60 minutes, and can take place in person or over the phone, at a time that suits you. During your interview, you can decline to answer any question that you do not wish to answer, and can stop the interview at any time.

With your consent, your interview will be audio recorded so that we can accurately capture your thoughts.

Your experiences and insights will inform research reports, academic publications and/or media pieces. You will not be personally identifiable in these publications.

A radio documentary may also be produced from the study. This radio documentary may be broadcast and/or made available on the internet. Your interview will only be used in the radio documentary if you agree to this by ticking the relevant box on your consent form. Participants whose interviews are included in the radio documentary will be named (first name only) and may be recognisable by voice. You can participate in the study without consenting to be part of the radio documentary.

If you wish to check or change any of your answers after the interview, you can do this by contacting Michelle to request a copy of your interview recording.

Personal information that is not relevant to the project will not be collected, and only members of the research team will have access to your interview and personal details. After the completion of the study, all interviews and personal information will be archived in de-identified form in accordance with the University of Queensland’s data management policy.

How do I consent to participate?

If you are interested in this study, please read this Participant Information Statement carefully and ask any questions that you have. If you are happy with the information provided and would like to be interviewed, you will then need to sign the Consent Form and return it to Michelle. Michelle will then contact you to arrange your interview.

Can I withdraw from the study?

You have the right to withdraw from the study (or just from the radio documentary) at any time without repercussions. To do so, please contact Michelle.

What are the risks?

During your interview, you will be asked about your experiences visiting immigration detention facilities. Some interviewees may feel distressed sharing these experiences. If you become upset or uncomfortable during your interview for any reason, you can ask to stop. We will not press you to talk about anything that you do not want to.

If you experience distress as a result of this study, you may like to seek counselling support. Confidential 24hr telephone counselling is available through Lifeline (13 11 14) or Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636).

What are the benefits?  

We hope that the research publications from this study will make a positive contribution to Australia’s asylum seeker debate. While we cannot guarantee that you will derive any benefits from your participation, we also hope that the interview will be a positive experience for you – providing an opportunity for you to share and reflect upon your experiences visiting immigration detention facilities.

Who can I contact if I have questions?  

We encourage you to ask any questions that you may have about the study. You can do this at any time by contacting Michelle

How do I make a complaint?  

Research involving humans in Australia is reviewed by an independent group of people called a Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). The ethical aspects of this study have been approved by the HREC of the University of Queensland (Approval Number 2019001240). As part of this process, the researchers have agreed to carry out the study according to the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007). This statement has been developed to protect people who agree to take part in research studies.

If you have any complaints or queries that the researchers have not been able to address to your satisfaction – or if you would like to speak with someone independent from the research team – you may contact a staff member of the University of Queensland Human Research Ethics Committee (Tel 07 3365 3571;